Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wooster, Tennant to Square Off in Championship Match

(Vero Beach, Fla.) - Sue Wooster will have a chance to win her first USGA championship on Thursday morning, and further grow her collection of national championships, when she tees it up in the final of the 57th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club. Wooster, 56, of Australia, has won national golf titles in her home country, as well as Canada and New Zealand, and has an opportunity to add the United States to the list when she faces Lara Tennant, 51, of Portland, Ore.

Wooster defeated Susan Cohn, 55, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., 3 and 2 in the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon, a match in which she never trailed. It was all square heading to the par-5 ninth hole, where Cohn, the 2013 Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up, found trouble and had to lay up short of the green with her third shot. After Cohn’s par try ended up just short of the hole, Wooster converted hers from 3 feet to give her a lead she would never relinquish.

A three-putt from 12 feet on No. 10 for Cohn, after she was about 25 yards short of the green in two, put Wooster 2 up. She would move to 3 up on the par-5 13th, after Cohn had to once again lay up with her third shot, hitting a wedge from 105 yards to 7 feet, but missing the par save. With Wooster 2 up on the 16th hole, Cohn hit her approach shot into a native area over the green and couldn’t get up and down. Wooster made a 3-foot par putt to win the hole, and the match.

Like Wooster, Tennant also defeated a Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up in the semifinals, edging Terrill Samuel, 57, of Canada, 1 up. The match went to the 18th hole all square after Samuel, who lost in the championship match in 2017, birdied No. 17 with a 7-foot putt. Both players had birdie putts on No. 18, with Samuel hitting her 50-footer 6 feet past the hole. Tennant, who was co-medalist in last year’s championship before bowing out in the Round of 64, rolled in her birdie try from 25 feet to seal victory and earn a spot in Thursday’s final.

The match had its share of dramatic moments. All square on No. 11, it looked like Tennant would regain the lead after hitting her approach shot on the par 4 to less than a foot from the hole, but Samuel chipped in from just off the green to halve the hole with birdies. Tennant would then trail for the only time in the match after hitting her tee shot on the par-3 12th in the water, but she squared the match again with a birdie on the par-5 13th.

While she fell short in her bid to get to a second straight final, Samuel did gain a bit of redemption on Wednesday morning, defeating countrywoman Judith Kyrinis, 54, in the quarterfinals, 1 up. Kyrinis, the reigning champion, had defeated Samuel in the championship match a year ago.

Wooster defeated Patricia Ehrhart, 53, of Honolulu, Hawaii, 1 up in the quarterfinals on Wednesday morning. Tennant topped 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, 56, of Carlsbad, Calif., 3 and 2. Before falling to Wooster in the semifinals, Cohn defeated Kathy Kurata, 58, of Pasadena, Calif., 2 up.

What’s Next
Wooster and Tennant will square off in the 18-hole championship match on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Notable
-As U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur finalists, Sue Wooster and Lara Tennant both receive exemptions into the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., May 16-19. The champion will also receive an exemption into the 2020 Senior Women’s Open.

-For reaching the semifinals, Susan Cohn and Terrill Samuel earn exemptions into the 2019 and 2020 Senior Women’s Amateurs. Samuel was already exempt through 2020 by way of her runner-up finish last year.

-Prior to this week, both Wooster and Tennant had played in eight USGA amateur championships, and neither had advanced beyond the Round of 32. Wooster had done so four times, most recently in last year’s Senior Women’s Amateur, while Tennant made it to the Round of 32 in the 2002 Women’s Mid-Amateur.

-Wooster is trying to become the sixth international Senior Women’s Amateur champion, and the first one from Australia. Prior to Judith Kyrinis in 2017, the last international champion was Mina Hardin, of Mexico, in 2010.

-Both Samuel and Tennant had parents caddieing for them during their semifinal match: Samuel’s mom, Cam, and Tennant’s dad, George.

Quotable
Sue Wooster, of Australia, on how she played in the afternoon compared to the morning: “I made some mistakes this afternoon. You make some mistakes because you're tired that you wouldn't ordinarily make. You're just trying to hang in there and keep your focus as best you can after two [36-hole days] in heat and humidity. This morning I think I hit 16 greens. I was just a bit fresher. You get a bit scrappy when you're getting tired.”

Lara Tennant, of Portland, Ore., on her experience so far this week: “I couldn't be happier. When you get to the final you have to be playing well. I'm more excited about being here with my friends and my dad who's my caddie, and just enjoying my time.”

Susan Cohn, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on her week and on her performance Wednesday afternoon: “Honestly, if you told me I would be here on Wednesday afternoon I don't know that I would've been real confident about that. I had two bad three-putts, and you don't get that back. Then a few clubs where I didn't align myself well. I’d hit a shot and say, what was that? Mistakes that you don't normally make.”

Terrill Samuel, of Canada, on making another deep run in the Senior Women’s Amateur: “This is the toughest tournament that we play in. It's first class. That's why Canadians are so proud whenever we get this far. We know how great a tournament this is. This is where all the best players are, right? Any time you can have a good run, you have to be proud of yourself.”

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