Fort Myers, Fla. – Defending champion Sherry Herman, 52, of Farmingdale, N.J., has advanced to the third round of the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,862-yard, par-72 Long Mean Course at Fiddlesticks Country Club.
Herman defeated 2010 USA Curtis Cup captain Noreen Mohler, 56, of Bethlehem, Pa., 3 and 2, on Tuesday morning. The pairing promised to eliminate at least one fine player: Herman, who also won the 2009 Women’s North & South Senior Amateur, or Mohler, a member of the 1978 USA Curtis Cup Team. Both are reinstated amateurs.
Mohler won the fourth hole with a par and held the 1-up lead until Herman birdied the par-4 seventh. At the eighth, Herman birdied and went ahead to stay.
Herman’s lead increased to 2 up at the par-3 13th hole. On the tee, Mohler was indecisive and went back to her bag for another club. It was the wrong one. Her ball ended short and to the right of the green and she hit a tentative chip 8 feet short of the hole.
Herman had a bit of luck. Chipping from the second cut of fringe, her ball caromed off the flagstick and stopped 4 feet away. Mohler missed her par putt and Herman made her par to go 2 up.
Mohler made a routine par at the 14th, and Herman narrowly made a 5-footer to halve. At the 303-yard 15th, Mohler had a sure birdie after hitting a fine approach to within 3 feet. Herman was 10 feet away. After Mohler made her putt, Herman deliberated, and then holed her putt for a matching 3.
With three holes to play, Herman led, 2-up. When Mohler failed to get up and down from the fringe on the 16th, she conceded Herman’s short par putt and the match ended.
Hitting the flagstick on that chip on the 13th was a lucky moment, Herman said. I did not take Noreen for granted at all.
Twenty years ago Mohler virtually gave up competition to raise a family. In her second Senior Women’s Amateur in 2007, she reached the quarterfinals.
Once in a while, when the nerves come and I can’t sleep and can’t eat, I wonder why I’m doing this, Mohler said. But we do it because we absolutely love it, the competition and the good golf.
In Tuesday afternoon’s third round, Herman faces Lisa Schlesinger, 52, of Laytonsville, Md. Schlesinger, a member of the Greater Washington D.C. Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame, didn’t take up golf until the age of 35. She defeated Andrea Kraus, 50, of Baltimore, Md., 1 up, in the second round.
Four-time champion Carol Semple Thompson, 61, of Sewickley, Pa., eased past fellow former USA Curtis Cup Team member Pat Cornett, 56, of Mill Valley, Calif., on the 19th hole. Former U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions Joan Higgins, 54, of Glendora, Calif., and Mary Ann Hayward, 50, of Canada also advanced.
But three former Senior Women's Amateur champions were sent to the sidelines. Three-time champion Diane Lang, 55, of Jamaica was upset by Cheryl Grigg, 53, of Sea Island, Ga., when Grigg holed a 3-foot birdie putt at the 20th hole. Carolyn Creekmore, 58, of Dallas, Texas, the 2004 titlist, fell victim to Susan Rheney, 51, of Greensboro, Ga., when Rheney holed a curling 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th for a 1-up win. Anna Schultz, 55, of Rockwall, Texas, the 2007 winner, was defeated by Cindy Gilkerson, 51, of Sugarland, Texas, 1 up.
Peg Brady of Charlotte, N.C., the 1968 U.S. Girls' Junior champion, also was eliminated by Deborah Anderson of Rancho MIrage, Calif., 1 up.
The Senior Women's Amateur continues with the quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Wednesday and concludes with an 18-hole final on Thursday.
Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at email@example.com.