U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
2018 Runner-up Wooster Leads Quarterfinal Charge
August 27, 2019 | Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Sue Wooster, of Australia, the runner-up last year to Lara Tennant, posted a pair of match-play victories in breezy conditions on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the 58th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Country Club.
Wooster, the No. 34 seed, edged No. 2 seed and three-time champion Ellen Port, 1 up, in the morning Round of 32, then held off Tara Fleming, of Jersey City, N.J., 2 and 1, in the afternoon Round of 16 after building an early 4-up lead.
“It was a real battle in the morning; to beat Ellen Port, I’m just stoked,” said Wooster, 57, of Lysterfield, a suburb of Melbourne. “She’s got game, you know? I played good again this afternoon, and Tara played some good golf to catch me back to 2 up. I got it up and down on 16 and 17 to halve those holes, so that was nice. I’ve got the speed of the greens down; hopefully that will last.”
Port led, 1 up, through 16 holes in the morning, but Wooster took the par-4 17th and 18th holes. No. 18, a green that has given the players fits this week, proved to be decisive as Port four-putted from a precarious spot above the hole after hitting the green in regulation to lose to Wooster’s bogey.
“I’m not sure if I’m over last year,” said Wooster of her 3-and-2 loss to Tennant at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla., last October. “I’m just taking one step at a time, but I’ve got a chance. I feel pretty proud of myself for getting this far and that gives me some confidence going forward.”
Tennant, of Portland, Ore., the No. 5 seed, defeated Pam Kuong, of Wellesley Hills, Mass., 4 and 3, in the afternoon after eliminating Maggie Leef, of Pewaukee, Wis., 3 and 2, in the morning. Tennant, 52, is attempting to become the first repeat winner of this championship since Port did it in 2012-13.
“I think my last 27 holes were better than my first nine,” said Tennant, who was co-medalist in the 2017 championship at her home club, Waverley Country Club. “Once I got through that first nine, I settled down and started hitting some good shots and made some putts when I needed to. It was very windy this afternoon. Conditions were far more difficult, so pars were good.”
Tennant will take on Lynne Cowan, 56, of Rocklin, Calif., who ousted three-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Sarah Ingram, of Nashville, Tenn., 4 and 3, in the afternoon after defeating Julie Massa, of Holt, Mich., 3 and 2, in the morning. Cowan, the No. 13 seed, has won more than 40 championships in California, and her furthest advancement in a USGA championship is the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she lost to eventual champion Joan Higgins in 21 holes.
“I tend to lose this match or the one in the morning so this is a bucket-list fulfiller for me,” said Cowan of the traditional Round of 32/Round of 16 day. “I usually can’t get past this hump. I just putted a little better than Sarah, that’s really all it was.”
Wooster will square off against Laura Webb, of the Republic of Ireland, who rallied to win holes 15-17 in the afternoon for a 1-up victory over Kim Keyer-Scott, of Estero, Fla. Webb never led until the 17th hole when she sank a 12-foot birdie putt, then closed out the match by halving No. 18 with a par. Webb, the No. 7 seed, ousted Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla., 2 and 1, in the morning.
Tina Barker, the No. 48 seed, ousted medalist Martha Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, 2 and 1, in the afternoon. Barker, of Fairfield, Calif., bested Suzi Spotleson by an identical score in the morning.
“I played against a lot of great players so far,” said Barker, 60, who is competing in her 16th USGA championship. “Martha is such a fabulous player. I was intimidated because I know she’s such a good player and she is also so nice. I have a lot of respect for her.”
No. 3 seed Mary Ann Hayward, of Canada, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, will square off against No. 22 Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round, while No. 24 seed Patricia Ehrhart, of Honolulu, Hawaii, a semifinalist in this championship in 2017, will take on Barker.
The quarterfinal round will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, with the afternoon semifinals scheduled for 12:45 and 1 p.m. The 18-hole championship final will be played at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Although Rhonda Orr of Canada lost her match in the Round of 32, 4 and 3, to Patricia Ehrhart, Orr’s effort was more heroic than it might appear from afar. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, resident was nearly forced to retire from the match with back spasms. “When I bent over to put on my rain pants this morning, it just spasmed up,” said Orr, 57, the two-time Manitoba amateur player of the year who was competing in her third U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. “I was struggling to even walk for a while, and on the first three holes, I had nothing. I could barely get the ball off the tee.” Having lost the first three holes, Orr received therapy from Ginny Hanna, a club member and a massage therapist on the fourth tee. “I started to walk a little more and it got looser,” said Orr, who climbed back into the match and pulled even with a birdie on the 10th hole. “I could only make about a ¾-swing, and it hurt on every swing, but I made it to the 15th hole. Patty was so gracious – I didn’t want her to come out here this morning and not get a game in.”
Sarah Ingram eliminated No. 4 seed Corey Weworski, 2 and 1, in a back-and-forth morning matchup of USGA champions, capping the win with an iron shot to 2 feet for birdie on No. 17. The players halved only three of the 17 holes, and seven holes were won with birdies, with the usual concessions.
Pam Kuong won back-to-back matches in extra holes, defeating Marilyn Hardy in 24 holes in the Round of 64 on Monday, then edging Janet Moore in 19 holes in Tuesday’s Round of 32, capturing both matches with birdies. Kuong is the first player since Andrea Kraus in 2016 to win back-to-back, extra-hole matches in this championship. Kraus prevailed in 21 holes in the quarterfinals and 19 holes in the semifinals before losing in the final to Ellen Port at Wellesley (Mass.) Country Club, 3 and 2.
“I had mistakes way before No. 18. I got a little crooked with my driver on the back, and I missed some putts when I could have increased my lead. But she hung in there with some beautiful lag putting.” – No. 2 seed Ellen Port, who lost in the Round of 32 to Sue Wooster, 1 up
“It was tough to club because of the wind, but you just do your best and hit the best shot you can at the time with the decision you make. I think my clubbing was pretty good with the conditions.” – Lara Tennant, the defending champion, on winds that gusted to more than 20 miles per hour
“All day I was between clubs, and all day John [Leach, husband/caddie] and I picked the wrong one. It was a struggle all afternoon. Hats off to her, she putted well. I’ve been swinging at it pretty good the past three days, so you keep thinking the next shot will be it, but it wasn’t.” – Martha Leach, No. 1 seed, who lost in the Round of 16 to Tina Barker
“When you’re over 50, everybody’s got something that can go on them, right?” – Rhonda Orr, of Canada, who battled through back spasms in her loss to Patricia Ehrhart
Tap the 💙 to show some love to Kim Keyer-Scott for advancing to the Round of 16 at the #USSeniorWomensAm 😆— Florida State Golf Association (@fsga) August 27, 2019
She defeated MK Thanos-Zordani, 4 and 3, and will now face Laura Webb at 3:30 p.m.! pic.twitter.com/arVVKGraLJ
Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.