Monday, October 01, 2007
I had Lara Tennant of Portland, OR (77-74, seeded 5th) vs. Mary Jane Hiestand (81-85, seeded 60th), who I walked with on Saturday. I switched my time to go with one of "my girls" who had made the cut. 7 of my 12 made it, and 4 of them won their matches today. In two days of stroke play, only Virginia Grimes (73-73) was even par and Dawn Woodard (70-74) was the only one to shoot a round under par.
MJ chipped in on the last hole Sunday to make the field on the number, after taking a 10 on a par 4 without leaving the fairway. She hit 12 of 14 fairways Sunday, and the missed ones were both in the first cut.
Lara missed the first green and made bogey to go one down, but then birdied the 2nd to get back even. Bogeyed 4 to go one down again, and after the 7th was halved with birdies, MJ made bogey on 8 to square the match. Both shot even par 37 on the front 9.
After pars on 10, Lara made bogey on 11. On the 12th, MJ hit her drive into the desert left of the green. Lara was in the trap on the right, near the back right pin. MJ's lie was in the center of a small brittlebush. After considerable preparation, she managed to hit it out to the rough just left of the green, with only minor damage to her hand from the gentle foliage we have here in Arizona. Still away, she hit her 60-foot chip into the hole for a par.
Lara is a 115-lb mother of 5, ages 6-12. Her husband was her caddy (as was MJ's), and had a picture of the family on the bag tag. She doesn't play much golf, except to visit the driving range for a few days before USGA events and qualifiers. She made the match play in the 2006 Women's Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge, but lost in the first round to a 5'-10" Korean girl who hit the ball 50 yards farther. That's when she decided to start working with weights.
So she's in the trap, one down, looking likely to get even again, and her opponent makes a miracle shot for par. I can just see the top of her head from the green as she swings, and puts it 10 feet above the hole. Then she drains the putt for a halve. This lady is all heart.
Now MJ had been thinking "2 up with 6 to play", but it's anyone's match again. So, what does she do? Stripes it down the middle, hits her approach to 3 feet. Birdie on 13, 2 up. 14, same thing, down the middle, on the green about 10 feet, conceded birdie. 3 up.
The 15th was halved, and on 16, the signature hole, MJ played three perfect shots to about 8 feet and the conceded birdie putt ended the match. She was 2 under par when it ended.
MJ was obviously struggling on Saturday, and said she was playing scared the first two days. Today she played brilliantly, and Lara was very unfortunate as a high seed to play so well and get beat in the first round. But, what a match.
Thank you for your kind words... it was really a pleasure meeting you and having you as a scorer. Jeff says hello, and if you are ever in SW Florida, please call us.
Mary Jane Hiestand
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