U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
3 Things to Know: 34th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur
September 24, 2021
By David Shefter, USGA
A field of 132 of the finest 25-and-older female golfers in the world are assembled at Berkley Hall (North Course) in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, hoping to become the next champion of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
The 34th iteration begins on Saturday with the first of two stroke-play rounds. The low 64 scorers will advance to match play, which starts on Monday and concludes with Thursday’s scheduled 18-hole final match. The champion not only gets a gold medal and possession of the Mildred Gardiner Prunaret Trophy for one year, but also an exemption into the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles as well as exemptions into the next two U.S. Women’s Amateurs.
Four players, including defending champion Ina Kim-Schaad and match-play qualifier Clare Connolly, competed in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. Ten players were in this year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn., with past U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champions Martha Leach (2009) and Ellen Port (1995, 1996, 2000 and 2011) sharing low-amateur honors. And last week at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, Port came up just shy of an eighth USGA title, losing to good friend and U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball partner Lara Tennant, 2 and 1, in the 18-hole final.
With those notables in the field and dozens more ready to chase championship glory, it should be an exciting conclusion to the USGA’s championship season. Here are 3 Things to Know as stroke play gets underway:
Defending the Crown
A trio of players have successfully defended titles since the championship’s inception in 1987, and they are the three most decorated competitors in U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur history. Sarah Ingram (1993-94), Ellen Port (1995-96) and Meghan (Bolger) Stasi (2006-07) have captured one-third of all the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs contested (11 of 33).
Ina Kim-Schaad, who won the 2019 championship at Forest Highlands in Flagstaff, Ariz., would love nothing more than to join these three Women’s Mid-Am stalwarts. The 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up certainly has the chops to successfully defend. A Northwestern University graduate, Kim-Schaad owns eight Metropolitan New York women’s titles, including the Metropolitan Women’s Open in 2019 and Metropolitan Women’s Amateur titles in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
To give herself a chance, the Rhinebeck, N.Y., resident will have to become the first player since Kelsey Chugg to make consecutive finals. Chugg won the title in 2017 and lost in 2018.
Most weeks, you’ll find Brandt Packer inside a portable broadcast control room, communicating signals to a talented group of on-air personalities and camera operators. As a lead producer for NBC/Golf Channel, he oversees virtually every aspect of a telecast, from developing storylines to informing the broadcast team of breaking news. But Packer will be relaying a different set of information this week at Berkeley Hall when he dons a bib to caddie for wife Erin Packer as she makes her fourth U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur start.
When Erin, the daughter of two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle, qualified for the championship last month, an excited Brandt immediately took to Twitter to announce his intentions to caddie. Fortunately, the event comes in a nice break in his schedule.
Nevertheless, he has a tough task considering Erin, 43, has done her share of looping over the last three decades. The native Georgian caddied for her father when he advanced to the semifinals of the 1992 U.S. Amateur at Muirfield Village (where he lost to current Golf Channel analyst and eventual champ Justin Leonard), and was on the bag when he competed in the 2006 and 2007 U.S. Opens at Winged Foot and Oakmont, respectively.
No longer as competitive as she once was a junior/collegian, Erin just tries to get in a weekly round between her duties as a mom (the couple has a 12-year-old daughter), real estate agent and basketball coach for her daughter’s youth team.
U.S. Women’s Mid-Am competitors Michelle Parrish and Ashley Sloup will not only be focused on their own games at Berkeley Hall, but also paying close attention to what is going on more than 1,000 miles up the east coast. Parrish’s husband, Hunter, and Sloup’s longtime boyfriend, Christian Sease, are competing in the 40th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, which is going on concurrently at Sankaty Head Golf Club and stroke-play co-host Miacomet Golf Course on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts.
Of the four, Michelle, who married Hunter last December, has enjoyed the most success in USGA championships. Competing then as Michelle Butler, the Columbia, Mo., resident advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and the quarterfinals one year later. Hunter, meanwhile, is making his USGA debut.
This week also marks the first USGA championship appearances for Sloup, the assistant men’s golf coach at Campbell University who became age-eligible for the Women’s Mid-Amateur on Dec. 28, and Sease. They each won the Carolinas Amateur in 2016, although Sloup proudly says her title came first. Her boss at Campbell, John T. Crooks, won the 1967 U.S. Junior Amateur, defeating future two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North in the final. She played collegiately at Winthrop.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.