NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – With every USGA championship comes a novel experience for Julia Potter.
Last year, in her first U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Potter earned medalist honors, then went on to win six matches to become the first female left-handed champion in USGA history, and only the third medalist in the championship’s 27 years to capture the trophy.
On Wednesday, after delays for rain and dangerous weather totaling more than four hours at Harbour Trees Golf Club, Potter’s semifinal match with Tara Joy-Connelly was suspended after 10 holes. Potter, who holds a 3-up lead, had never had a match carry over to a second day before, and will wait until 8:15 a.m. on Thursday to resume the semifinal, conditions permitting.
It’s going to be hard sleeping, knowing you still have half a match, said Potter, 26, who works for the Indiana Golf Office as its director of marketing and women’s golf. I’m going to try to not get ahead of myself and go back out there like we’re all square and try to put together a good showing.
Five Indiana players made match play, and Potter is the lone Hoosier left in the draw. She is appreciative of the support, both up close and far away.
I’ve had my coworkers reach out, I’ve had former teammates [at the University of Missouri] reach out; it’s been really nice, said Potter. I’ve also gotten a lot of support from the host club – I got to meet a lot of them at media day and they’ve been incredibly nice to me. It can be pressure to play in your home state, but to have so many people newsContenting for you, it’s helped me get to the point where I’m at.
One similarity to last year’s championship is that Potter is staying with a host family. She is staying some 500 yards from the Harbour Trees clubhouse, at the home of Indiana state senator Luke Kenley and his wife, Sally.
I think I’m a better player when I get to stay with a host family, said Potter. I think it helps me with this tournament to have some time aside for chit chat with people, instead of being at a hotel with my dad talking about golf all day. Sometimes you need a break, especially when we’ve been going hard since about 8 o’clock this morning.
The proximity of the Kenleys’ home also allows Potter to avoid having to spend time commuting from the host hotel in Carmel, about a half-hour from Harbour Trees, and gives her more time for Netflix.
I’m going to try to relax and watch a couple of ‘West Wing’ episodes tonight, said Potter. Speaking of ‘West Wing,’ politics is an interest of mine, so it’s been fun to have a couple of conversations [with Mr. Kenley] and get his input on stuff.
If they get tired of discussing politics, they can always talk about the weather.
Notable: Last year’s championship marked the first time that no match went longer than 19 holes. There have been seven extra-hole matches this year, and all have ended on the 19th hole. … Three of this year’s four semifinalists are repeaters from 2013. Julia Potter, Margaret Shirley and Meghan Stasi all advanced to the final four at Biltmore Forest Country Club last year. Only once in championship history has more than one semifinalist made the semis the next year. Paige Marsh Lea and Robin Weiss both reached the semifinals in 1989 and 1990. Weiss won in 1989; Lea lost in the final both years. … Three players have won back-to-back championships: Sarah LeBrun Ingram (1993-94), Ellen Port (1995-96) and Meghan Stasi (2006-07). No player has ever won and been the runner-up the following year.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.