Robin Burke can hold her own when it comes to golfing achievements.
But when the Houston resident drew three-time champion Ellen Port in Tuesday's third round of the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur at Wichita Country Club, the obstacle was pretty clear.
"Ellen's a great player," Burke said. "I think every time I've played her, she's thumped me."
That's all in the past now. Burke, a former Curtis Cup player, denied her friend and the championship's No. 1 seed the opportunity to win a fourth title with a 3-and-1 match-play victory. Burke, 48, will play another past Women's Mid-Am winner, Corey Weworski of Carlsbad, Calif., in today's quarterfinals of the U.S. Golf Association championship for women 25 and older.
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Port, a St. Louis school teacher and coach, and No. 2 seed Katy Treadwell of Oklahoma City were both eliminated on the second day of match play, as the field was reduced from 32 to eight. The survivors included two-time champion Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park, Fla., and Dallas' Carolyn Creekmore, a 2004 USGA Senior Women's Amateur champion who won the Women's Mid-Am qualifier Sept. 1 at Wichita Country Club.
Burke, a 1997 U.S. Women's Amateur runner-up and wife of World Golf Hall of Fame member Jack Burke Jr., took down Port after eliminating former LPGA Tour golfer Mina Hardin in Tuesday morning's second round. Hardin had delivered one of the most impressive performances of Monday's first round when she eliminated Michelle Griffith, daughter of two-time U.S. Senior Open champion Allen Doyle, 8 and 6.
"This morning, I was not real settled and a little uneasy," said Burke, a semifinalist in two previous Women's Mid-Ams. "I didn't know how I was going to come out because I had a poor day of ball-striking (Monday).
"This afternoon, I felt really good, mostly because I was playing a good friend. I knew that I'd have to play all day long because she's incredible."
Burke trailed Port for four of the first 10 holes, but took her first lead when Port hit her tee shot into the water at the 137-yard 11th. Burke kept the lead the rest of the match, stretching it to 2 up when Port again misfired off the tee at the 414-yard 13th, pulling her drive into a creek that runs along the fairway.
"I made too many mistakes," said Port, whose three U.S. Women's Mid-Am titles matches Sarah LeBrun Ingram for the most in the championship's 24-year history. "That was the difference. And Robin kept herself in holes by hitting good tee shots all day."
Port's exit left Stasi and Weworski as the only former champions in the quarters. Weworski, who won the 2004 championship in Knoxville, Tenn., won four holes in a five-hole stretch and held off Jennifer Lucas, a reinstated amateur from Knoxville.
"It is a golf course where if you're down, you can get back up," said Weworski, who held off Lucas 2 and 1. "But I think that consistent play is key because you can get yourself in trouble."
Consistency also served Burke well against two quality opponents. She and Weworski will lead off the first off the first of four quarterfinal matches at 8:15 this morning. Other matches include Sydney Wells of Menominee, Mich., against Carol Robertson of Virginia Beach, Va.; Fort Worth's Brooke Williams against Creekmore; and Stasi against Laura Coble of Augusta, Ga.
The four winners will move on to the afternoon semifinals, when the field will be cut to two.
"I knew I had my work cut out for me today and really the rest of the week," Burke said. "The further you go, everybody gets better and the course gets tougher."
U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur
At Wichita C.C.
No. 1 Ellen Port, St. Louis def. No. 32 Tara Joy-Connelly, Pembroke, Mass. 2 and 1; No. 16 Robin Burke, Houston def. No. 17 Mina Hardin, Fort Worth 3 and 2; No. 8 Jennifer Lucas, Knoxville, Tenn. def. No. 40 Wendi Golden, Bradenton, Fla. 2 and 1; No. 24 Corey Weworski, Carlsbad, Calif. def. No. 56 Linda Jeffrey, Abilene, Texas 4 and 2; No. 29 Sydney Wells, Menominee, Mich. def. No. 61 Amber Marsh Elliott, Greensboro, N.C. 3 and 1; No. 13 Kelly Wilson, Cameron Park, Calif. def. No. 20 Meredith Chiampa, New York 7 and 5; No. 5 Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va. def. No. 28 Alexandra Casi, East Palestine, Ohio 3 and 2; No. 53 Diane Irvin, Pacific Palisades, Calif. def. No. 21 Martha Linscott, Kansas City, Mo. 4 and 2.
No. 2 Katy Treadwell, Oklahoma City def. No. 31 Lea Venable, Simpsonville, S.C. 4 and 3; No. 50 Brooke Williams, Fort Worth def. No. 47 Brenda Kuehn, Asheville, N.C. 3 and 2; No. 7 Carolyn Creekmore, Dallas def. No. 39 Thuhashini Selvaratnam, Sri Lanka 19 holes; No. 42 Kim Eaton, Greeley, Colo. def. No. 55 Akemi Khaiat, Japan 2 up; No. 3 Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. def. No. 30 Marilyn Hardy, Houston 4 and 3; No. 14 Kerry Postillion, Scottsdale, Ariz. def. No. 46 Tanya Olson, Naperville, Ill. 6 and 5; No. 59 Diane Lang, Jamaica def. No. 27 Dawn Woodard, Greer, S.C. 19 holes; No. 11 Laura Coble, Augusta, Ga. def. No. 43 Linda Pearson, Glendale, Calif. 2 and 1.
No. 16 Robin Burke, Houston def. No. 1 Ellen Port, St. Louis 3 and 1; No. 24 Corey Weworski, Carlsbad, Calif. def. No. 8 Jennifer Lucas, Knoxville, Tenn. 2 and 1; No. 29 Sydney Wells, Menominee, Mich. def. No. 13 Kelly Wilson, Cameron Park, Calif. 3 and 2; No. 5 Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va. def. No. 53 Diane Irvin, Pacific Palisades, Calif. 4 and 3.
No. 50 Brooke Williams, Fort Worth def. No. 2 Katy Treadwell, Oklahoma City 6 and 5; No. 7 Carolyn Creekmore, Dallas def. No. 42 Kim Eaton, Greeley, Colo. 3 and 2; No. 3 Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. def. No. 14 Kerry Postillion, Scottsdale, Ariz. 2 and 1; No. 11 Laura Coble, Augusta, Ga. def. No. 59 Diane Lang, Jamaica 5 and 4.
8:15 a.m.— No. 16 Robin Burke, Houston vs. No. 24 Corey Weworski, Carlsbad, Calif.; 8:25— No. 29 Sydney Wells, Menominee, Mich. vs. No. 5 Carol Robertson, Virginia Beach, Va.; 8:35— No. 50 Brooke Williams, Fort Worth vs. No. 7 Carolyn Creekmore, Dallas; 8:45— No. 3 Meghan Stasi, Oakland Park, Fla. vs. No. 11 Laura Coble, Augusta, Ga.
1:15 p.m.— Burke-Weworski winner vs. Wells-Robertson winner; 1:30— Williams-Creekmore winner vs. Stasi-Coble winner.