The chase for the title in the 55th U.S. Women's Amateur Championship is now down to four competitors after the completion of Wednesday's quarterfinal matches at Wellesley Country Club. With a quick turnaround for the afternoon, those moving on had enough time for lunch and a warm-up session before heading to the first tee. Before they did, the USGA chatted with the four winners to get their thoughts on their quarterfinal victories and a look ahead to the semifinals:
U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Quotables: Voices From Quarterfinals
September 21, 2016 | Wellesley, Mass.
Karen Garcia, Cool, Calif.: Defeated Caryn Wilson, Rancho Mirage, Calif., 7 and 5: “Oh man. I was a little wild and crazy again today, but scrambled. … I felt bad for Caryn. She had putts all day long that looked like they were going in and went right over the edge. And I won some holes that I probably shouldn’t have.”
On a key moment early in the match: “I scrambled on five and got up and down [for par]. I pulled [my drive] left and made par. She ended up not getting it up the hill. I think she chipped and I chose to putt. So I parred the hole and she bogeyed it and I had no business winning it that hole. I have to scramble at home all the time, so this doesn’t necessarily scare me, but I also know it’s going to catch up to me if I don’t play better.
On moving on to the semifinals: “What could be better in life? I think everyone is taken care of back at school and I can just go enjoy playing golf.”
On her opponent in the semis: “I’ve never [played with her] I’m a [Coach] Chip Kelly fan. I’m a Duck. It’s nameless, faceless opponent. That’s the philosophy, whether you are playing the [Washington] Huskies or the [Oregon State] Beavers, you don’t care. And that’s safer for me. I don’t think about it.
On what she’ll do between the quarterfinals and semifinals: “I will hit some balls. At this point, it is what it is. I’m not sure there’s anything truly fixable out here. You are who you are and bring it and see what ends up [as the result].”
Andrea Kraus, Baltimore, Md.: Defeated Judith Kyrinis, Canada, 21 holes: “She’s a great player and competitor and she’s been playing great all week. I’m not thinking about anything after winning a match like this. I just want to get lunch and then I’ll get ready for the semifinals.”
On her mindset: “My putting left me a little bit early in the match, so I fell behind. But I have confidence in my game so I was able to come back. … I’m really delighted. It’s the first time in the match I went up. It only took, what, 21 holes?
On making the 8-foot comebacker for par to claim the win: “I was kicking myself a little bit after the first putt, but now I’m not.”
Kyrinis commenting on her elbow that inflamed on Tuesday morning: “The elbow was fine. Absolutely no problems. It was better than the other day.”
Kyrinis on her performance: “I made some shaky putts today. I missed a short one on the par-3 seventh that probably turned the tide a little bit. But I played pretty steady. I drove it pretty well and hit some nice shots into the greens. It’s really hard to convert some of the putts to make birdies. It’s tough to find the speed because you have to be so respectful of these greens.”
Kyrinis on what was the turning point: “I made a big mistake on 15. I tried to get too much out of it and put it in the water, so that gave her the hole. That was probably the biggest swing in the match.”
Laura Coble, Augusta, Ga.: Defeated Kim Eaton, Mesa, Ariz., 3 and 2: “I was very fortunate. When it gets down this far [in the championship] you’ve got to take advantage of the other person’s mistakes. You don’t hope they make mistakes, but if they do, you’ve got to do what you can to stay on top of it.”
On winning the first three holes to gain early momentum: “It was good. But I was not comfortable. I just wanted more, not to sound greedy. I told my caddie Peter 5 up is not enough. I know Kim’s a great player and she can come back and she’s never going to give it. I knew I needed to keep plugging along. And we did.
On moving into the semifinals for the third time in a USGA championship: “[The experience] does help. You can draw on it. It’s the experience this week at the golf course. I’ve hit so many shots around here and now I’m just drawing on those memories when I stand on the tee or have a certain angle. And just the overall experience of USGA events. You know you’re going to be nervous and that’s OK. You know it’s just putting your head down and keep going.”
On what you’ll do between matches: “Relax. Take my shoes off, eat and unwind for a little bit. Chill out.”
Ellen Port, St. Louis: Defeated Lisa Schlesinger, Laytonsville, Md., 2 and 1: “It was a very good match and I’m fortunate to have won.”
On celebrating her 55th birthday by advancing to the semifinals: “It was nice. At the 55th Senior Women’s, I’m 55. I will always remember how old I am. What year is the Senior now? The 100th anniversary? It’s great."
On the momentum swings: “Really it was not going my way after Lisa birdie 11 and 12. She’s so long with the four par-5s on the back [nine], I don’t want to think too much about what my opponent is doing, but I haven’t had too much luck birdieing out here, even when I’m close to the green. I made a few mental mistakes, but when I had to hit some good shots I did."
On closing the match out on 17: “I topped my drive basically. I played that hole perfectly. I’ve learned that golf is not a game of perfect, so I just got a drive out there, had a longer [third shot] than normal into it and I hit the green pin high about 18 feet. The problem with being a long hitter is Lisa had to decide whether to go for [the green in two] or not. And she laid up and was about 5 yards short of hitting a perfect shot. It was right on line and she hit it in the bunker. So she made an unforced error and I was fortunate enough to have my ball on the green. A two-putt par [was good enough].
On playing Laura Coble, who beat her in the Round of 16 at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur: “That was the only time we’ve ever played. I’ve got to go play good golf and see what happens.”