For much of the day Wednesday, it appeared that Meghan Stasi was well on her way to playing for a fifth U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship title, and third in four years. In the span of an hour, though, the 35-year-old saw her hopes of another USGA trophy dashed.
Holding a 2-up lead with two holes to go in her semifinal match against Margaret Shirley, Stasi bogeyed Nos. 17 and 18 to fall back to all square and found the water with her approach on the first extra hole, handing the match to Shirley in 19 holes.
This wasn't the first time that Stasi – who won this event in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012 – struggled down the stretch at Biltmore Forest Country Club. During her quarterfinal match Wednesday morning against Laura Coble, Stasi was 3-up with three holes to go but closed with two triple bogeys and a bogey on No. 18. She bounced back to win the match with a par on the first extra hole, but couldn't replicate the result later in the day against Shirley.
A former player and coach at Auburn, the 27-year old Shirley will play for her first career USGA title in Thursday's final against Julia Potter, who was medalist during the 36-hole stroke-play qualifier earlier this week. Playing in her first Women's Mid-Amateur, Potter, 25, reached the final by ousting Stefi Markovich, 3 and 2, in the Thursday's other semifinal match.
Conducted since 1987, the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur is open to amateur female golfers age 25 or older with a USGA handicap index of 9.4 or lower.