U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Four Key Matches in the Round of 32
October 6, 2015 | Choudrant, La.
By Scott Lipsky, USGA
8 a.m.: Casey Ward, Canada vs. Christina Proteau, Canada
All eyes up north will be squarely focused on the first match of the day, as Canadians Ward and Proteau look to continue their runs at Squire Creek Country Club.
For Ward, of Picton, Ontario, this week will forever be a memorable one, as she is making her USGA championship debut and has already made her presence felt, earning stroke-play medalist honors. One of 12 players in the field playing in their first year of U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur eligibility, Ward, 25, had three double bogeys on the outward nine in her Round-of-64 match with Mimi Hoffman, but took the lead on the ninth hole and never looked back, ultimately prevailing, 3 and 2.
For Proteau, 32, winning matches in the Women’s Mid-Amateur is becoming somewhat of a routine. The prosecutor in her home province of British Columbia has advanced to the Round of 16 or better in each of the last three years. That run was highlighted by last year’s run to the quarterfinals in which each of her matches went 19 holes, all while six months pregnant. Proteau, who has since given birth to son, Jameson, didn’t have to work overtime on Monday, as she never trailed in a 2-and-1 victory over fellow 2014 quarterfinalist Debbie Adams.
8:40 a.m.: Margaret Shirley, Roswell, Ga. vs. Amanda Jacobs, Portland, Ore.
It will be Jacobs’ turn to try and slow down Shirley, 29, who led throughout her 6-and-5 victory over Jordan Craig on Monday. She also trailed for only three holes during her entire U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title run in 2014. Shirley, who finished as the runner-up in 2013, has shown a penchant for making quick work of her opponents, with three of her six matches during last year’s championship ending by the 15th hole. In addition to being the reigning Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, she also helped the Georgia squad to the USGA Women’s State Team title last month at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Jacobs is playing in her second USGA championship, with the 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior the only other one on her resume. The 27-year-old, who played at the University of Idaho, advanced to Tuesday’s Round of 32 thanks to a 5-and-3 victory over Alyssa Roland in which she made three birdies over her last seven holes to seal the match.
Despite her edge in experience and recent success in the championship, Shirley knows that advancing to Tuesday afternoon’s Round of 16 cannot be taken for granted.
“It’s a mental grind more than anything. Physically, I’ll be OK, but [it’s important to] make sure you stay rested and hydrated,” she said. “You have to get through the first round before you can start talking about the next one.”
8:50 a.m.: Susan West, Tuscaloosa, Ala. vs. Dawn Woodard, Greer, S.C.
Two good friends will face one another in match play for the first time on Tuesday. Woodard, 41, is one of the more familiar faces in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, making her 14th appearance in the championship this week. A three-time stroke-play medalist, Woodard has been plagued with early match-play exits in the championship, having never advanced beyond the quarterfinals. She looked entirely in her element on Monday, winning the first four holes against Patty Moore on her way to an 8-and-6 win, the largest margin of victory in a Women’s Mid-Amateur match since 2010.
West is starting to make a name for herself on the golf course after a highly successful career on the amateur tennis circuit. West, 51, has reached match play in each of her two U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur starts, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2014. She won a match in the Women’s Mid-Amateur for the first time on Monday, holding off Janet Moore, 5 and 3.
“Susan and I are good buddies,” said after her win on Monday. “Susan and I are good buddies. She’s a great player, she’ll be a good match.”
10:30 a.m.: Kay Daniel, Covington, La. vs. Julia Potter, Granger, Ind.
One of three Louisiana natives to advance on Monday, Daniel shook off an early deficit in her Round-of-64 match en route to an impressive 4-and-3 win over 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski. Her reward: A meeting with yet another Women’s Mid-Amateur champion. Potter, 27, claimed the title in 2013 before coming up short in a 2014 rematch with Margaret Shirley. Potter had little trouble against Courtney McKim on Monday, never trailing in a 5-and-4 win in which she was 1 under, with the usual match-play concessions.
This week marks the seventh straight Women’s Mid-Amateur start in which Daniel, an orthodontist, has advanced to match play, with her run to the Round of 16 in 2013 being her best performance to date.
Both competitors have seen more than their share of success at the state level. Potter won the Indiana Women’s Amateur for a fourth time this summer, while Daniel, 44, is a seven-time Louisiana Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and won the 2005 Louisiana Women’s Amateur.
Scott Lipsky is the manager of websites and digital platforms for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.