Sue Wooster will tonight play to become the US Senior Women’s Amateur champion.
The Australia, already with national championship victories at home, in New Zealand and Canada, will seek to add the United States to that imposing list after two more stunning victories in match play today at Orchid Island Golf and Beach Club in Florida.
Wooster, 56, would become just the sixth international player to win the US title, but must first overcome the impressive Lara Tennant, from Oregon, who has been a regular at USGA events since 1983 and the joint medallist in stroke play at this event last year on debut.
But in Wooster’s form, the four-time Australian Mid-Amateur champion just might not be denied.
The Victorian, who remarkably did not start playing competitively until she was in her 40s, held her nerve in an epic quarter-final to begin the third day of match play, edging out Hawaiian Patricia Ehrhart in a sterling encounter.
Showcasing the quality of the match, Ehrhart went behind for the first time in the match on the 16th when she made a bogey five, that incredibly dropped her to one under the card.
Wooster, who bogeyed the long ninth, made three birdies – her last for a half on the short 15th – and calmly made her 14th par up the last to stave off her opponent 1-up after missing just one of 18 greens in regulation.
After a short break, the National Golf Club member returned to face Florida’s Susan Cohn, runner-up in this event in 2013.
Bar a couple of early aberrations, Wooster was again impressively consistent, while Cohn made a few birdies, but the occasional costly error in pressing against the Australian.
By the time a cracking second shot on the par-five 13th set up Wooster’s par and hole victory, her three-up lead began to feel comfortable.
Though Wooster endured a bogey on the 15th, her par on the 16th was again good enough for a win, this time to seal a 3&2 triumph and passage to her first USGA event final.
Wooster admitted she made some mistakes in the afternoon session, but was delighted with how her game is holding up in a gruelling week.
“You're just sort of trying to hang in there and keep your focus as best you can as tired as we all probably are, you know, after two (days of) 36 holes in heat and humidity,” she said.
“You make some mistakes because you're tired that you wouldn't ordinarily make that I didn't this morning.
“But I think kept the ball in play, hit a fair few greens and I think I lagged my long putts really good up to the hole.”
Asked for her best shot, Wooster deferred to the 13th hole.
“The shot into the wind, 5-wood into the long par-5, 14th. That really set me up and … took me to 3-up, and 3-up with five to go is pretty comfortable,” she said.
The reigning and dual Canadian Senior champion – one of two key victories Wooster has already savoured on her northern excursion this year alongside the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst – said rest would be her primary mission before the 18-hole final, which begins at 11.30pm AEDT tonight.
But once she gets back on course, it’ll be business as usual.
“Just try and keep doing what I've been doing. I have my usual routine that I go through. Just keep maintaining that on every shot,” she said.
“Trying to keep my focus and just play each shot as it comes, as they say.
“As simple as that is, it's how you have to play golf to get the results at the end of the day.
“Hopefully I won't get ahead of myself (and) I'll stay in the present.”