SAN MARTIN, CALIF – Past champion Sherry Herman, 55, of Holmdel, N.J., and Liz Waynick, 53, of Scottsdale, Ariz., both carded 1-over-par 73s Saturday to share a one-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the rainy first day of stroke-play qualifying at the 52nd USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at CordeValle Golf Club.
None of the 66 players in the morning wave broke par at the 5,996-yard, par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout. A heavy morning mist turned to rain in the early afternoon, but subsided as the afternoon wave of play began. Wind and thick rough contributed to the difficult scoring conditions.
Herman, the 2009 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur champion, birdied her final two holes, the par-4 eighth and ninth. Oddly, it only rained during her round on those holes.
I just play with a different attitude now, Herman said of her confidence since winning a national title. I wouldn’t say I was desperate to win but I wanted to win a USGA championship. It was one of my lifetime goals. Now I have that behind me and I can freewheel it a little. I don’t feel nervous. I’m out there playing and just enjoying it.
Herman, a senior sales director with a husband and two grown daughters, has played in nearly 30 USGA competitions.
I didn’t even know what I shot when I got done, said Herman, who was a semifinalist at the 1994 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs. On my first putts, I did not have the speed down well, but my second putts – no matter how far away I was – I was making them.
She credited her consistency to hitting fairways and greens in regulation, albeit none very close.
I was never near the hole today, she said. The pins did not know I was in town. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens in regulation. I might have missed two or three greens.
Waynick, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur runner-up who started on No. 10, was 4-over par after her first three holes. However, she steadied herself and played the final 15 holes in 3-under with birdies on the 14th, 17th and sixth holes.
I hit my irons really well and had a lot of birdie opportunities but I had hiccups early in the round, Waynick said.
One stroke behind Herman and Waynick at 74 were Helene Maxe, 52, of Sweden, and Caryn Wilson, 52, of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Maxe, who won the European Senior Women’s Amateur, logged four birdies, two bogeys and double bogeys on the finishing holes on both sides.
She started on the 10th hole and was 3-under par through six holes before a double bogey at the par-5 18th hole.
I’m satisfied with a 74, Maxe said. I like those greens we don’t have those at home. I think they are very fair. I played well but I made some mistakes and that cost.
Lisa Schlesinger, of Laytonsville, Md., stroke-play medalist in 2011 and 2012, and Mary Jane Hiestand, of Naples, Fla., posted 3-over par 75s.
Terri Frohnmayer, 57, of Salem, Ore., the 2011 champion, carded a 77.
Defending champion Ellen Port, of St. Louis, who celebrated her 52nd birthday, shot 80. Her up-and-down round began with three consecutive birdies and an outward 34, but she followed it with a 46 on her second nine. She was penalized two strokes when her caddie accepted transportation. At the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, caddies must walk at all times.
Players of note with afternoon starting times were 2012 runner-up Jane Fitzgerald, 2007 champion Anna Schultz and four-time champion Carol Semple Thompson.