Silvia Cavalleri, 24, of Milano, Italy, defeated Robin Burke of Houston, Texas,
5 and 4, to win the 1997 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at the 6,130-yard,
par-73 Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, Mass.
Cavalleri was 5 up after the first 18 holes on the strength of sharp iron
play and superb putting, while Burke, the wife of 1956 Masters champion Jack
Burke Jr., struggled on the greens.
Cavalleri, whose mother Victoria caddied for her throughout the championship,
gained the 5-up lead with a four-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole, a 10-foot
birdie putt on the 14th hole, and a six-foot birdie at the 15th.
"I was pretty relaxed at that time," said Cavalleri, "but my mother reminded
me that the match was not over."
After the lunch break, Burke changed her grip and reeled off a string of birdies
on the opening holes of the afternoon round.
Burke won the 21st hole with a two-foot birdie putt, the 22nd hole with an
eight-foot-birdie putt, and the 24th hole from five feet to narrow Cavalleri's
margin to 2 up.
But Cavalleri won the 27th hole with a par when Burke three-putted from 35
feet, then holed a curling 38-foot chip shot on the 28th hole to regain a 4-up
"I felt pretty good," said Burke. "I felt like I had a chance until I bogeyed
the 27th hole. That hole hurt me the most."
Cavalleri birdied the 30th with a 10-foot putt to go 5 up with six holes remaining
in the 36-hole match.
On the par-5 31st hole, Cavalleri hooked her second shot behind some shrubbery,
but was given relief by a USGA Rules Official when her ball rolled onto a drain.
When Cavalleri hit the green with her third shot and matched Burke's par, she
A sudden thunderstorm caused a 90-minute suspension of play after Burke and
Cavalleri had hit their second shots on the par-5 32nd hole. When play resumed,
both players parred the hole, giving Cavalleri the victory.
"Silvia never let up," said Burke. "She played great. She made a lot of long
putts for pars, as well as for birdies. She did what she had to do."
Asked how she would celebrate, Cavalleri said, "In Italy, because I am too
tired to celebrate now."