Fort Myers, Fla. – Alexandra Frazier, 52, of Haverford, Pa., upset defending champion Sherry Herman, 52, of Farmingdale, N.J., 1 up, on Wednesday morning to advance to the semifinals in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at the 5,862-yard, par-72 Long Mean Course of Fiddlesticks Country Club.
Patty Moore, 60, of Charlotte, N.C., Mary Ann Hayward, 50, of Canada and Mina Hardin, 50, of Fort Worth, Texas also advanced after winning their quarterfinal matches.
Frazier and Herman dueled through 17 holes, the lead changing hands just twice. Frazier battled to square the match at the ninth hole and again at the par-5 eleventh, where the big-hitting Herman nearly hit the green in two, then squandered two chip shots to bogey.
All square at the 462-yard, par-5 18th, Herman hit a big drive and chose to go for broke, firing at the water-surrounded green with her second shot. Her ball splashed into the hazard. Herman took the drop, and hit her fourth shot 15 feet from the hole. Frazier played safely, hitting the green in the regulation three shots. She two-putted for a par, Herman missed her putt to tie, and they shook hands.
I’m still in shock that I won, said Frazier. I just didn’t want to embarrass myself, but I hung in there and I’m kind of a scrappy player. I didn’t get nervous at all because I didn’t have any expectations – until she hit the ball in the water on [No.] 18. And then my knees started shaking and my hands started shaking. I just wanted to get it on the green and rely on my putter, which has been my strength all these matches.
I live and die by my strength, Herman said of her decision to go for the 18th green with her second shot.
A decided underdog, Frazier was the last player to capture a match-play berth. finishing 64th in stroke-play qualifying. Her defeat of Herman is her second huge upset of the championship. In her opening match she defeated medalist Leigh Klasse, 1 up. Frazier’s biggest title to date is the 2009 Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur Championship. According to USGA records, she would be the first No. 64 seed to win a USGA title. In 2005, Clay Ogden won the U.S. Amateur Public Links title as the No. 63 seed.
Moore, a semifinalist in the 2000 USGA Senior Amateur, defeated Deborah Anderson, 59, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., 4 and 3. Moore won the first hole and never lost the lead, holding a 4-up advantage after the ninth hole. Anderson rallied to win the 10th and 11th holes and cut the margin in half, but Moore’s game was too consistent and she won on the 15th green.
My husband, Jake, told me this morning to just go out and have fun, Moore said. And that’s what I did. It’s just golf. Unfortunately, Deborah didn’t have her ‘A’ game today, and I hated that for her because we’ve all been there. But I played well.
Hayward, the 2005 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur champion, defeated Claudia Pilot, 53, of Austin, Minn., 4 and 2. Pilot had a 1-up lead after seven holes, but Hayward won two of the next six holes and then took the 10th and 13th with pars to take a 4-up lead.
Hardin, the 2001 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur runner-up, defeated Joan Higgins, 54, of Glendora, Calif., 2 and 1. Hardin threatened to run away with the match when she won the first four holes. Higgins, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, rebounded by winning the fifth and sixth holes with pars to shrink the margin to 2 up. Hardin won the eighth hole with a bogey to go 3 up. Higgins got the match back to 1 up when she won the 10th and 12th with pars. Hardin birdied the par-4 15th to lead by two holes, the final margin.
In the afternoon semifinals, Frazier faces Moore and Hayward will play Hardin.
Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications for the USGA. E-mail her with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.