Lin McMillan never was much for cruises, anyway.
So when she received an email less than a week before the
championship that she had earned entry into the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, it
didn’t matter to McMillan that she was on a cruise ship, far from a port of
“We left on Saturday and I got the email on Sunday,” said
McMillan, of Palm Coast, Fla. “My boyfriend, (David Culver) said, ‘You’ve
got to play in it.’ We were out in the middle of the Atlantic
It took a lot of doing, but McMillan got to the Women’s
Mid-Amateur, and she made the most of the opportunity, reaching match play and
winning one match before she fell in the second round to 2009 champion Martha
Leach, 1 up.
If McMillan wasn’t so determined to play, she might have
abandoned the odyssey from the ocean to Asheville, N.C.
She left the cruise ship two days after receiving the
initial email, disembarking in Jamaica. She had already bought a plane ticket
to Orlando so
she could stop at home to pick up her clothes and clubs. Unfortunately, the
ticket she purchased was for the wrong airport in Jamaica. She had to rebook and fly
out of Kingston.
She couldn’t fly directly to Asheville from Orlando, so she went into Greenville, S.C.,
and drove a van, the only rental option available, the rest of the way. She got
a room – only one night was available – and figured she would sort out the rest
of it later.
“I started wondering, can this be any harder?” said McMillan,
who had been the first alternate out of the Orlando sectional. “I was just so happy to be
able to come and play in the tournament, though. This is what golfers are
about; you learn how to navigate through anything.”
McMillan has played in several USGA championships, including
three in 2012 alone: the Senior Women’s Amateur, the Women’s Amateur Public
Links and the Women’s Mid-Am.
“It was worth the trip to play in a USGA event,” she said.
“I don’t care where it is; if I have an opportunity to play in it, I’m going to
McMillan qualified at Biltmore Forest Country Club as the
No. 21 seed with rounds of 79-80, then captured her first-round match by a
4-and-3 margin. She faced a familiar second-round foe in Leach.
“We had played each other out at CordeValle in the Senior
Women’s Amateur two weeks ago,” said McMillan afterward. “Neither one of us
played our A game today, but our match was close, right to the very last putt.
I parred No. 17 to get within one, and then I left my putt on the last hole
straight in and short from 10 feet. She beat me on the 18th hole – and in the
second round – just like two weeks ago. It felt like déjà vu.”
The Women’s Mid-Amateur extended McMillan’s golf schedule to
a fourth consecutive week, since she was already planning to play the following
week in the Eastern Senior Amateur in Aiken, S.C., followed by the Southeastern
Women’s Amateur Team Championship and ending with the Southern Women’s Senior
in Tuscaloosa, Ala., at the end of October.
“I’ve got to get home, get packed again and get back in the
car,” McMillan said. “This gave me one more week that I wasn’t expecting.”