Higgins Simmons set for Womens Mid-Am final

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USGAANN ARBOR, Mich. ' Joan Higgins and Lynn Simmons each won two matches to advance to Thursdays final of the U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur Championship at Barton Hills Country Club.
 
Higgins, a quarterfinalist in 2007, won her semifinal match in 21 holes over Lynne Cowan by chipping in for birdie on the 409-yard, par-4 third hole.
 
Higgins, a four-time winner of the Womens Southern California Golf Association Tournament of Champions, pulled her 5-wood shot into the greenside rough 20 feet from the hole
 
I just got up and hit and tried not to think what was happening and what it was for, said Higgins, the mother of two teenagers. I hit and it went in. I got lucky.
 
Neither player led by more than one hole in the closely contested match and Higgins didnt lead at all until the 14th hole.
 
Simmons, meanwhile, won the first hole against Noreen Mohler and never trailed in beating the 1975 U.S. Womens Amateur semifinalist, 2 and 1.
 
Its a dream come true, said Simmons, who owns a personal training business. Playing in all these USGA events, its a dream come true. I cant express how excited and happy I am. Its a lifetime dream.
 
Higgins, who is using Ken Hartmann, the Golf Association of Michigans director of rules and competitions, to caddie, believes the better putter will win.
 
Im starting to like the greens, Higgins said. A lot of it is pace. They dont go in the side door here very often. Youve got to get them in the front.
 
Simmons, who admitted she struggled with putting in stroke play, has found a comfortable feel.
 
Its finally clicking. Simmons said. Im taking a lot of extra time to practice with these greens, which are very subtle.
 
The finalists, both playing in their seventh Womens Mid-Amateur, coincidentally played together in the stroke-play portion of the championship.
 
We became fast friends, Higgins said of Simmons. Before we teed off this afternoon, we said: See you tomorrow. I just got a big hug. It will be a great match.