U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Persistence Pays Off for Italy's Colavito
September 25, 2018 | ST. LOUIS, MO.
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
The third time has proven to be the charm for Giuliana Colavito, of Italy, who persisted in her efforts to compete in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, more than 4,700 miles from her home city of Milan.
Colavito, 47, has represented Italy in international play three times and has won her national women’s mid-amateur title five times, but she had never competed in a USGA championship until this week. The No. 41 seed in match play, Colavito defeated Andrea Miller of Keswick, Va., 3 and 2, in Monday’s Round of 64 to set up a 7:57 a.m. CDT Round-of-32 match on Tuesday with Courtney McKim, of Raleigh, N.C.
What brought her to Norwood Hills Country Club? Colavito explained simply, “It’s my passion, so I do it.” In 2016, Colavito made her first bid for this championship at a sectional qualifier in Colorado, but she missed out on the playoff for the final two spots by one stroke.
In August of last year, she successfully qualified at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, tying for second to earn one of the five available spots in the championship. Unfortunately, the 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur had to be rescheduled from Florida to Texas and from October to November due to damage from Hurricane Irma, and Colavito was forced to give up her spot due to conflicts with the new dates.
Last month, Colavito competed at Glendora (Calif.) Country Club for this week’s championship and seemingly missed out in a four-way playoff for the final two spots. But she was the first alternate, and a week before the championship, she received a call from the USGA that she was in after a player had to withdraw. This time, there was no hesitation, and Colavito has found the experience worth the wait.
“It was really a pity for me that I couldn’t come to the United States for the championship last November,” said Colavito. “And this year with being the first alternate, I was hoping to travel here with some certainty of playing, and then I got the call one week before the championship. It has been a very good experience; everything is perfect.”
Colavito played nearly perfect golf over the last seven holes of stroke play on Sunday, with six pars and a birdie to finish off a 4-over-par 76, which combined with her 8-over 80 from Sunday for a 12-over 156 total, good for the No. 41 seed.
“I started playing the game at 10, although I wasn’t able to play much around school and work,” said Colavito, who has competed in several championships around Europe. “I told a friend of mine at my home course about playing in international championships, and he told me about the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. He asked, ‘Why don’t you try it?’”
Colavito gave reasons why not, saying it was too far away, and too important an event for her to play in.
“Then I thought about and decided it would be a good idea to try to play,” said Colavito. “My dream is to have many experiences, and wherever I play golf, I’m at home. The people I’ve met are so special.”
If Colavito can keep up the short-game magic, her week is sure to continue.
“My putting was very, very good [on Monday],” said Colavito. “And I had a couple of up-and-downs that were really incredible for me, one on No. 9 (from a plugged bunker lie] and one on No. 11 [chipping from an awkward stance].”
Colavito is employing a caddie from Norwood Hills and knows that her friends and her parents will be following along from Italy on Tuesday.
“Every match is different; I’m just going to keep going, step by step,” said Colavito following her victory on Monday. “I’ve done sectional qualifying, then qualifying here, and now I’ve gotten over the first match. Tomorrow is tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is now here, and if Colavito were to win two matches during this double-round day, she would advance to the quarterfinals, which comes with it an exemption into the 2019 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. The globetrotting Colavito could reserve the dates on her calendar well in advance.
Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.