Khaiat Holds Clubhouse Lead For Senior Women's Amateur Medalist September 21, 2013 By Pete Kowalski, USGA

Lynne Cowan, of Rocklin, Calif., carded a 1-over 73 Sunday to qualify for match play with her 36-hole total of 150. (USGA/Steve Gibbons)

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Akemi Khaiat, 50, of Japan, posted a 75 Sunday for a 36-hole total of 3-over-par 147 to stake her position for medalist honors at the midway point of the second round of stroke-play qualifying at the 52nd USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at CordeValle.

She holds a one-stroke lead over 2010 champion Mina Hardin, 53, of Fort Worth, Texas, who posted her second consecutive 74 for a two-day total of 148 at the 5,995-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. course. 

I was nervous on the first tee because I was the leader, said Khaiat, who works in Los Angeles as a property investor and holds Japanese citizenship. I played good and again I putted well. I made four birdies but two of them I didn’t expect to make because I wasn’t trying to.

The seven-time club champion at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Khaiat squeezed in a return from Kanto State Senior Amateur in Japan just before Saturday’s first day of the competition but too late for a practice round at CordeValle. She served as co-captain of the Japanese team at the 1998 Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Chile.

Khaiat, who was the runner-up at the 2013 Japan Senior Women’s Golf Championship in June, did not believe her score would be good enough for medalist honors.

The condition is great compared to yesterday when I played with rain and wind and everything, said Khaiat, who advanced to the round of 32 at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. There are so many great players out here.

Hardin, who finished with two birdies against four bogeys, agreed that scoring conditions were improving.

The course was a little bit easier because there was no rain, said Hardin, who was the low scorer for Texas in the recently completed USGA Women’s State Team Championship in Kettering, Ohio. It was tough yesterday. Today, there are opportunities out there. I didn’t make as many putts as I would have wanted to and then I got greedy coming in and was trying to force a couple of putts and rammed them by.

After no sub-par scores Saturday, Martha Leach, 51, of Hebron, Ky., the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, posted a 1-under 71. She was three strokes behind Khaiat at 150 with Lynne Cowan, 50, of Rocklin, Calif., who attended San Jose State.

Sherry Herman, 55, of Holmdel, N.J., the 2009 champion, and Liz Waynick, 53, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who each shot 73 Saturday, and 2012 champion Ellen Port, 52, of St. Louis, who opened with an 80, had afternoon starting times.