Port will play for championship of U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur
By: Warren Mayes
St. Louis’ Ellen Port continues to dazzle on the golf course.
Port, 50. will play Thursday (Sept. 13) for the championship of the 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur. It is her first time playing in the tournament.
Port, who teaches at John Burroughs, dominated another opponent Wednesday to advance to the final match. She defeated Lecia Alexander, of Stafford, Texas, 6 & 4.
Port held a one-hole advantage after the outward nine in the semifinals, then won five consecutive holes. She made pars on all five, including getting up and down from the front of the par-4 11th. Meanwhile, Alexander, who rolled to an 8-and-7 triumph in her quarterfinal match, struggled after the turn. She missed a short par putt on No. 10 and found greenside bunkers that led to bogeys on holes 12 and 14.
“Every match has its own character,” said Port in a news conference after the match. “I stayed in the moment. I didn’t have a lot of feel around the greens. I had some uncharacteristic shots for me with wedges in my hand. I tried not to get frustrated with myself and I did a pretty good job of that. I let the bad shots go and knew that I had some good ones in me.”
Port won in dramatic fashion in the quarterfinals against 2004 Senior Women’s Amateur champion Carolyn Creekmore by hitting her approach to within 6 inches for birdie on the 18th and deciding hole.
Port just missed playing in the tourney last year because her birthday is just after the Sept. 1 eligiblity date.
Port is the current U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, which was the fourth title of her USGA career.
She will have the opportunity to add to that USGA total in the 18-hole championship match that begins at 8:30 a.m. at Hershey (Pa.) Country Club.
If she can become a five-time USGA champion, she will be joining the likes of Hale Irwin, Julie Inkster and Mickey Wright to win that USGA titles.
Port will Jane Fitzgerald, 50, of Kensington, Md., at the par-74, 6,220-yard Hershey Country Club West Course. Both won their semifinal matches comfortably after each player had to work hard to defeat their quarterfinal opponents earlier in the day. Fitzgerald dispatched Lisa Schlesinger, the top seed from Laytonsville, Md., 4 & 3.
The 2012 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play.
“I know her and I know her record,” said Fitzgerald in a news conference about Port, who hopes to become the 10th player to win five USGA women’s championships. “Her experience is a big strength.”