ERIE, Pa. - Julia Potter won the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur for the second time in four years Thursday, beating Shannon Johnson, 2 and 1, at The Kahkwa Club.
Potter, a 28-year-old reinstated amateur from Indianapolis, also won the 2013 event for players 25 and older and finished second in 2014.
''When you get to the sixth day of championship play - the eighth day, counting practice rounds - you are starting to get tired,'' Potter said. ''That's when you fall back on that short game. I was lucky enough to be able to do that.''
The only female left-handed champion in USGA history, Potter is the fifth multiple champion in the event, joining Sarah LeBrun Ingram (1991, 1993, 1994), Ellen Port (1995, 1996, 2000, 2011), Meghan Stasi (2006, 2007, 2010, 2012) and Carol Semple Thompson (1990, 1997).
Potter played at the University of Missouri and is the director of marketing for the Indiana Golf Office. The 33-year-old Johnson, from Norton, Massachusetts, played at New Mexico and Indiana and works as a sales representative for Ping golf equipment.
Johnson won four consecutive holes - all with pars - to square it with three holes to play on the Donald Ross-designed course. On the par-3 15th, Potter made a double bogey after hitting into a bunker and Johnson two-putted for par.
''I said to myself, 'Now is the time,''' Johnson said. ''I love the back nine, and I knew coming in I could definitely win some holes. I felt pretty good momentum at that point.''
Potter won the par-4 16th with a 10-foot birdie putt. The match ended on the par-4 17th when Johnson missed a 3-foot par putt and Potter made a 2 1/2-footer for par.
''I tried to be confident over every putt,'' Johnson said. ''Donald Ross got me in the end.''
Potter and Johnson were co-medalists in stroke-play qualifying and the first two top seeds to meet in the final in the history of the event. Potter also won as the medalist in 2013.
''I really feel like I have run the gauntlet,'' said Potter. ''I've had two matches go into extra holes. Against Audrey (Akins), I thought for sure I was done on 17. It's nice because next year when I'm in match play, these are the instances that I can pull from and say, 'Hey, you are not out, you are not down.' I think a lot of people in that crowd would have thought that Shannon had the momentum going into 16 and the next thing you know I win 16 and 17 and the championship.''
Potter is 18-2 in match play in four appearances in the events. Her boyfriend, Kiel Bobb, has taken over caddie duties from Potter's father, Phil.
''Kiel is that calm in the storm for me,'' Potter said. ''Even when I missed putts on 13, 14, 15, he said, 'You put a great stroke on it. It just didn't happen. Don't get down on yourself.' When you have someone like that out there supporting you and believing in you, you start believing that you can really do it, too.''
Johnson and Potter are fully exempt into the 2017 U.S. Women's Amateur at San Diego Country Club. Potter received a 10-year U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur exemption, and Johnson got a three-year exemption.