I made a few good putts today and played solidly, said Frohnmayer, the 2011 champion competing in her fourth U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. It certainly wasn’t Carol’s best game today, but I was honored to play with a legend.
The two champions halved the first three holes. Frohnmayer went 1 up on the par-3 fourth hole after Thompson’s tee shot landed in a greenside bunker and then burrowed somewhere in tall fescue grass. Thompson was forced to declare a lost ball and Frohnmayer won the hole.
Frohnmayer went 2 up on No. 6 when she drained a 22-foot birdie putt, and added another birdie from 15 feet on the eighth hole for a 3-up lead.
I made some good putts, which I haven’t done in the last few days, said Frohnmayer, 58, of Salem, Ore. But it’s hard to get your shots close on these greens for birdie.
Thompson ran into more trouble on the 10th green, conceding the hole, which gave Frohnmayer a 4-up lead.
I had a lot of bad shots and a couple of bad breaks today, said Thompson, 65, of Sewickley, Pa., winner of four consecutive U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles from 1999 to 2002.
Throughout the round, Thompson, playing in her 124th USGA championship, struggled with her longer clubs. That put pressure on the rest of her game to salvage holes against the steady-handed Frohnmayer, who missed very few opportunities to capitalize.
I hit my driver badly and I even hit some grounders, said Thompson. I’m just not making good contact with the ball and that’s the way I’ve been playing for a while.
Frohnmayer went 5-up on No. 11, but gave it back on No. 12 when Thompson won her only hole of the match.
Frohnmayer fought back and regained a 5-up advantage on the 13th hole when Thompson conceded a 15-foot putt. She closed out the match when she won the 14th hole with a bogey.
She played well and she’s very solid, Thompson said. She also made some good recovery putts today.
Frohnmayer credited superb conditions that enabled her to advance through the first round of match play, but admitted she is motivated this year after being eliminated in the first round of the 2012 championship.
I’ve come all the way from Oregon to play in this championship and I want to stay as long as possible, said Frohnmayer, owner of a commercial real estate company. I’d like to see this part of New Jersey, but just not so quickly.
Playing in her 16th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, Thompson was disappointed with her round, in which she was an uncharacteristic 12 over par, with the usual match-play concessions.
It’s fun to play in USGA events, but it’s hard, said Thompson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Senior Women’s Amateur match play record holder with 47 wins and 12 losses. It’s hard not to play as well as I’m used to playing. We’ll see what happens next summer and just go from there.
As for Frohnmayer, she will face Caryn Wilson, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., in Tuesday’s Round of 32, with the prospect of facing newly-minted 50-year-olds if she advances through the draw.
They get younger and hit it farther, but it’s golf and it’s match play, and anything can happen, she said.
Kyrinis’ Putt Caps Canada’s Perfect Day
Canada’s ascent in women’s amateur golf isn’t limited to the junior ranks, as evidenced by Monday’s 3-for-3 performance in the Round of 64 of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
It was Judith Kyrinis, 50, of Canada who emerged victorious in a see-saw match against Nancy Kromar to complete the perfect day, with fellow competitor and countrywoman Terrill Samuel – Samuel cruised to an 8-and-6 victory against Heidy Munn earlier – following the action.
On the par-4 first hole (19th of the match), Kyrinis seemed to be in good shape to seal the deal. Kromar was 15 feet away after four shots, while Kyrinis was hitting her third from a seemingly good lie in the right greenside bunker. However, Kyrinis bladed her pitch and flew the green by about 30 feet. She recovered with a lofted shot from the rough which landed 20 feet from the hole. She calmly drained the long putt and watched as Kromar missed her 15-footer 6 inches short.
"I just took a deep breath and stayed with it," she said. "I saw the line well. I was there earlier in the day and had a good feel for the putt. The couple putts before, I hadn't really put a good stroke on it. I finally put a good stroke on one."
Kyrinis was more excited about Canada’s performance. The first thing she did was ask if Terrill and Helene Chartrand had won their matches. The rise of golf in Canada is a great source of pride.
"We're really stepping up with Golf Canada," said Kyrinis, who texts on a daily basis with four-time USGA champion and three-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Marlene Stewart Streit. "It all starts with our provincial programs and regional programs. We're really trying to build the depth of the team. I think we have a really great program and a lot of great people in place. For me, being a senior player, I really love seeing what Golf Canada is doing and I'm really proud to be out here wearing the Canadian gear."
Haines Makes Match-Play Return
Despite her hard-fought 2-and-1 defeat against Patricia Brogden in Monday’s Round of 64, Elizabeth Haines left the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Hollywood Golf Club with more accolades to add to the family name.
Haines, 66, of Gladwyne, Pa., got into the field as an alternate after losing in a playoff against good friends Noreen Mohler and Bonnie George in the Glen Mills, Pa., qualifier. She made the most of the opportunity, finishing in a tie for 13th in stroke-play qualifying and falling just short in her comeback bid against Brogden.
It was the first time Haines advanced to match play in eight years.
"All your work from 2006 on – you don't stop working toward it when you don't qualify," she said. "So, you keep working and hoping days like yesterday will pop into your life. It's just a lot of hard work and it's great to be here. The highlight of any amateur’s career is to play in a USGA championship."
A member at 2013 U.S. Open venue Merion Golf Club, Haines spends a lot of her time with her four grandchildren, who all live nearby in the Philadelphia area.
Haines’ late husband, George, who passed away in 2008, was quite an accomplished golfer and has multiple USGA ties. George grew up in Far Hills, N.J., where the USGA is headquartered, and won two New Jersey State Amateurs. He played in 10 U.S. Amateurs and qualified for the 1968 U.S. Open at Oak Hill.
George was also a good writer, who penned The Golf School section of Golf Journal, which at one time served as the USGA’s official publication.
I was a pretty good player, but he was a great player, Elizabeth said. Qualifying for the U.S. Open as an amateur is one heck of an accomplishment.
Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites. Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.