EUGENE, Ore. -- Ellen Port of St. Louis is one win from her fourth U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur title after beating Lisa Desimone of Carmel, Calif., on Wednesday in a semifinal.
Port, a 41-year-old high school teacher and field hockey coach,
won with a birdie on the fourth extra hole at Eugene Country Club.
She faces Kathy Hartwiger of Birmingham, Ala., in an 18-hole final
Port won this event in 1995, 1996 and 2000. A year ago, she lost her third-round match.
"I feel like I'm a better player now than when I won my other three,'' Port said. "I knew I could get to the final, but you try not to think about it. So many things have to go your way.''
Hartwiger, a three-time state champion, works part-time for the
U.S. Golf Association, the organization conducting the
championship. She won three of the first four holes and was 5-up
before closing out Lyn Nelson of Half Moon Bay, Calif., 7 and 5.
Port struggled before taking the lead on the 13th hole. She gave
it back on the 18th and then stuck her approach shot to 2 feet on
the fourth extra hole and tapped in for a birdie.
Port has not lost a final match and is trying to surpass Sarah LeBrun-Ingram of Louisville, Ky., a three-time winner with victories in 1991, 1993 and 1994.
The 36-year-old Hartwiger previously reached the quarterfinals
in 1996 and 1998. She has handily won four of her five matches.
She defeated Susan Romano of Chesterland, Ohio, in her quarterfinal 5 and 3. Port edged Toni Wiesner of Fort Worth, Texas, in her quarterfinal, 1-up.
"Whatever happens, I've done great,'' Hartwiger said. "I don't think I can play any better than I did today.''
This is the 16th Mid-Amateur, a championship for women 25 and older. The Women's Mid-Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the U.S. Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.