Pictor Sharpens Her Competitive Edge in Peach State September 30, 2015 | NASHVILLE, TENN. By Lisa D. Mickey

Playing in competitions all over her home state of Georgia has helped Brenda Pictor prepare for and contend in USGA championships. (USGA/Matt Sullivan)

U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Home

Brenda Pictor is feeling right at home in Tennessee as she continues to make her way through the match-play bracket at Hillwood Country Club. The Marietta, Ga., resident knocked off the championship’s last remaining top-10 seed this morning to advance to today’s quarterfinals, making her exempt into next year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

She’d love to arrive as the defending champion.  

In this morning’s resumption of the Round of 16 following Tuesday night’s suspension for darkness, Pictor completed an impressive 6-and-5 victory over No. 3-seed Caryn Wilson of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Pictor played bogey-free golf and never trailed in the match against her younger opponent..

“It feels wonderful because I didn’t know if I would ever get here again,” said Pictor. “I’m 60 years old and the competition gets better every year, so I’m just trying to take it one day at a time.”

While Wilson wrestled with a balky putter during the match, Pictor took advantage on the Champion bermudagrass greens that she knows well from her home course in Georgia.

“This grass is the same surface we have at Pinetree Country Club back home, but some people aren’t used to it because it has a little bit of grain,” Pictor added. “It’s a smooth surface and if you get the ball on line, it’s going to go in the hole, but it helps if you’re familiar with it.”

Prior to facing Pictor, Wilson had marched through the match-play rounds with a 6-and 4-win in the Round of 64, followed by a 5-and4 triumph in the Round of 32. Other top seeds were eliminated earlier and Wilson was eyeing a spot in the quarterfinals, but Pictor dashed those hopes with her steady play.

“I know Caryn’s a great player, but she didn’t have her best game today and I did,” said Pictor. “I’m really proud to have won that match and to be here for the USGA quarterfinals.”

Pictor credits the Georgia State Golf Association’s annual schedule of tournaments for enabling players from the Peach State to contend nationally. A Georgia team, for example, has won the USGA Women’s State Team Championship in four of the last six playings, capturing the 2015 title on September 12 in Cape Girardeau, Mo..

“Our state association takes care of us and provides a lot of good competition to get us ready for these kind of national tournaments,” said Pictor, who represented Georgia in the inaugural USGA Women’s State Team in 1995 and again in 2013.

Pictor said Georgia golfers have up to six available competitions statewide every year, including two match-play state tournaments.

“We also have stroke play and team play and they give us a great mix of tournaments to keep us going,” said Pictor, who plays friendly matches every day with the guys at Pinetree Country Club in Marietta, Ga.

All of the men she competes against, including husband Brad – caddying for her this week at the championship – know about Pictor’s career-low round of 12-under 59. During a “Couples Day” tournament in 2009, in which contestants played their own ball, Pictor scorched the par-71 Sunset Hills course in Carollton, Ga., on a hot, summer day

She recorded three eagles, seven birdies and one bogey in her record round, punctuating the day with a 25-foot eagle putt on the last hole.

“It was a crazy, 100-degree day and all we could do was laugh,” she said. “Lightning started at the ninth hole, so we sat for about 1 ½ hours in the clubhouse.”

“We had a couple of Heinekens while we waited for the weather to clear,” she added. “It was just brutally hot outside, but the ball was flying straight and I loved it.”

Unfortunately, it was a “net” handicap event and the Pictors finished third, but it made Brenda Pictor a coveted teammate for club events and has fueled her legend in daily match-play events ever since.

The 2014 Georgia Women’s Amateur Champion walks her hilly home course every day and relishes every step of every round.

“Match play is really my forte,” laughed Pictor, who was receiving emails and texts from “the guys at the club” while she waited to start today’s quarterfinal match.

Pictor knows this week’s competition is a lot different than the friendly matches she faces back home, and caddie/husband Brad has told her to “calm down” more than once to reach this point in the championship.

“I feel every bit of the pressure, but it’s fun,” said Pictor, a retired commercial realtor who reached the Round of 16 in last year’s Senior Women’s Amateur. “When I’m out there, I try not to think about it. I don’t want to know what anybody else is doing. I’m just playing one shot at a time.”

And so far, one shot at a time has served the Georgia player well.