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Potter Wins U.S. Women's Mid-Am
Julia Potter of Granger, Ind., came through down the stretch to catch and pass Margaret Shirley of Roswell, Ga., in the championship match of the 2013 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C.
The 25-year-old Potter, who earned medalist honors during the 36-hole stroke-play portion of the championship, got the final match to all-square on the par-4 17th hole with a par - to Shirley's bogey.
The two went to extra holes after both got pars on the 18th with fours. On the 19th hole, the 333-yard par-4 first at Biltmore, Potter carded another par that Shirley couldn't equal to take the victory in her first U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur and second USGA championship overall.
Earlier in the tight match, Shirley went 1-up on the par-4 fifth hole after a Potter bogey, and maintained the lead through the 16th until Potter evened things up.
"It feels incredible," said Potter, a 2011 graduate of the University of Missouri and a professional event coordinator. "I think it's anybody who plays competitive golf's goal to win a USGA championship, and to be able to do it and to do it here at Biltmore Forest, it means the world to me."
"I played some of the best golf I've ever played," said Shirley, a 2008 Auburn University alumna who works for Atlanta Junior Golf. "It just didn't end the way I wanted it to."
This is the third time in the championship's history that the final match included two players in their 20s. The other two times came in the 1993 and 1994 finals.
With her victory, Potter became only the second 25-year-old to win the championship, joining Sarah LeBrun Ingram in 1991. She's also the USGA's sixth left-handed champion and first-ever left-handed female winner.
Other lefty USGA champions include Ralph Howe III (1988 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Phil Mickelson (1990 U.S. Amateur), Brian Harman (2003 U.S. Junior Amateur), Cory Whitsett (2007 U.S. Junior Amateur) and Brad Benjamin (2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links).
With the victory, Potter receives a 10-year exemption in the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur, while Shirley gets a three-year exemption.
For full championship match details, visit http://www.usga.org/ChampEventScore.aspx?id=17179869349&year=2013&type=061.