3 Things to Know: 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur

By David Shefter, USGA

| Sep 08, 2023

3 Things to Know: 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur

Stonewall, a 36-hole facility about an hour northwest of Philadelphia in Elverson, Pa., takes center stage for a second time in USGA history this week when the 36th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur will be conducted on its North Course.

Stonewall joins four other venues to have hosted both the U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur: Eugene (Ore.) Country Club (1993 Mid, 2002 Women’s Mid); Shadow Hawk Golf Club in suburban Houston (2011 Mid, 2005 Women’s Mid); Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C. (1991 Mid, 2013 Women’s Mid); and Forest Highlands in Flagstaff, Ariz. (2006 Mid, 2019 Women’s Mid).

The 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall was memorable on two fronts. It was the first time two separate courses were used for the 36-hole final with the morning 18 on the North Course and afternoon round on the Old Course. The championship also saw Stewart Hagestad, in his first year of eligibility, rally from 4 down with five holes to play to defeat 2014 champion Scott Harvey in 37 holes. It led Hagestad to being selected to four consecutive USA Walker Cup Teams.

Only the North Course, a Tom Doak design that opened in 2003 (10 years after the Old Course), will be utilized for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. But the field of 132 competitors will find this par-71 layout to be plenty challenging, as the stroke average during the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur was 75.5.

Krissy Carman, of Eugene, Ore., won’t be back to defend the title she won at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Naples, Fla., due to her new position as assistant coach for the University of Oregon women’s golf team. That leaves the possibility for a new name to be inscribed on the Mildred Gardiner Prunaret Trophy. One thing we do know for certain: Kate Scarpetta, of Crystal Lake, Pa., a quarterfinalist in last year’s championship, will have the honor of hitting the opening tee shot.

Here are 3 Things to Know:

Young and Younger

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when players in their 40s and 50s – Joan Higgins won at 52 in 2008 – were walking away with the title. But in the last 10 years, that trend has drastically changed. Six of the last 10 champions have been under the age of 30, including two taking the title in their first year of eligibility (Lauren Greenlief in 2015, and Blakesly Brock in 2021). None of those 10 winners have been over the age of 35.

With 35 percent of this year’s field under the age of 30, including three who qualified for last month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur (Jessica Spicer, Emma Groom and Jackie Rogowicz), there’s a good chance the champion could come from this group.

One player to keep an eye on is 27-year-old Aliea Clark, a finalist the past two years. The native of Carlsbad, Calif., recently took a job in Atlanta, Ga., after spending the past few years as a graduate student at New York University. She played collegiately at UCLA.

3-time champion Sarah LeBrun Ingram, who guided the USA to a pair of Curtis Cup victories in 2021 and 2022, returns to the Women's Mid-Am for the first time in 27 years. (USGA/Jason E. Miczek)

Three-time champion Sarah LeBrun Ingram, who guided the USA to a pair of Curtis Cup victories in 2021 and 2022, returns to the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur for the first time in 27 years. (USGA/Jason E. Miczek)

Welcome Back

When Sarah LeBrun Ingram used to show up at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, the field took immediate notice. The Nashville, Tenn., native, who played at Duke University, won three titles in a four-year span from 1991-94, earning her way to three consecutive USA Curtis Cup Teams (1992, 1994 and 1996). She also captained the 2021 and 2022 American sides to victory at Conwy Golf Club in Wales and Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., about 45 miles from Stonewall. But after taking a long hiatus from the game due to health reasons – she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis – Ingram has made a return to competitive golf. Her competitive juices were revitalized when she chaired the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur at The Golf Club of Tennessee, her home course.

And now Ingram, 57, returns to the Women’s Mid-Amateur for the first time since 1996. Ingram’s decorated amateur career also includes a runner-up showing to Jill McGill in the 1993 U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club and earning low-amateur honors in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.

She will be one of 10 past champions in the field, but one of two who qualified (2009 winner Martha Leach).

Playing and Serving the Game

Several Women’s Mid-Amateur competitors not only play golf at a high level, but they also serve the game in a variety of capacities, many at Allied Golf Associations.

Haley Whitbeck, 28, of Monterey, Calif., is the senior manager of junior golf for the Northern California Golf Association. The former Sonoma State golfer served as a P.J. Boatwright Intern with the NCGA before landing full-time with the association. She also served as a USGA Rules official at the 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur in Alaska and last month’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Bel-Air C.C.

Melanie Furuta, 42, of Long Beach, Calif., a mother of three, previously worked as the assistant director of Rules and competition at the Southern California Golf Association before taking her current position as membership director at Virginia Country Club, where U.S. Ryder Cup member Patrick Cantlay learned the game, and head professional Jamie Mulligan is an instructor for other notable players, including Nelly Korda.

Two-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Am champion Julia Potter-Bobb, 35, of Indianapolis, Ind., is the director of business operations and membership for Indiana Golf, while U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball partner and 2017 champion Kelsey Chugg, 32, of Salt Lake City, Utah, served as membership director for the Utah Golf Association before moving to her latest position as the associate director for the golf program in Greater Salt Lake City.

University of South Florida graduate Jacqueline Twitty, 26, of Tampa, Fla., the tournament manager for the Florida State Golf Association, qualified for the championship for a second consecutive year.

Laura Bavaird, 37, of Trenton, Mich., is the foundation director for the Golf Association of Michigan and administers the state’s Youth on Course program. The two-time Michigan Women’s Amateur champion played four years on the Symetra Tour, now known as the Epson Tour, and regained her amateur status in 2022.

Sydney Weaver, 28, of Columbus, Ga., serves the Georgia State Golf Association as the manager of women’s golf. Weaver, who earned her undergraduate and MBA at Berry College in Georgia, has worked a number of USGA qualifiers as the staff official in charge, but this will be her first as a competitor. She finished seventh individually in the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship. 

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.