Wendy Ward, 21, of San Antonio, Texas, won the last two holes and claimed
a 2 and 1 victory over defending champion Jill McGill in the final match at
the 1994 U.S. Women's Amateur Golf Championship, played at the Homestead's Cascades
Course, in Hot Springs, Va.
Ward, a senior at Arizona State University and the runner-up at the 1994 NCAA
Championship, broke a deadlock when she sank a 10-foot putt for birdie 4 on
the 34th hole of the 36-hole match. She then closed out the match on the next
hole with a par 5 when McGill, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Southern
California, from Denver, Colo., strayed into the trees with her 7-iron second
shot and didn't reach the green until her fourth.
"That was one of my worst shots all week," said McGill. "That shot will haunt
me. I just hit it thin."
In contrast, Ward has pleasant memories. "My putt on 16 was the turning point,"
she said. "I felt Jill would make her putt (for birdie) and I'd have to make
mine to halve the hole. I had played that hole well all week."
"Winning the Amateur was something for me to chase," she continued. "What
it means will probably not sink in until the long ride back to San Antonio.
Or maybe when I start reading some of the names on the trophy."
Neither player held more than a 2-up advantage throughout. Ward jumped in
front at the start by winning the first two holes of the morning round, and
she held a 2 up advantage through 10 holes before McGill won holes 12 and 14
to pull the match back to all square.
McGill, who won the 1993 Women's Amateur, 1994 U.S. Women's Amateur Public
Links and was vying to become the first person to win three USGA championships
in a year's time, took a 2 up lead by winning the first two holes of the afternoon
round, but Ward rebounded by winning three straight holes to go 2 up after a
birdie 4 on the ninth hole. McGill then won three holes compared to Ward's one
through the 14th, setting the stage for Ward's rally down the stretch.
"My coach always has said I'm a back nine player," said Ward, the 1994 PAC
10 Player of the Year and a first-team All-America. A day before she proved
it when it counted most. "And it helps to have a lot of confidence when you're
McGill had a string of 1 6 straight competitive match play victories snapped
with the loss. She hadn't lost since the semifinal round of the 1993 Broadmoor
Invitational, in Colorado Springs, Colo. She defeated Emilee Klein, of Studio
City, Calif., in her semifinal match, 1 up.
Ward had an easier time in her semifinal match, defeating Andrea Baxter, of
Eagle, Idaho, 7 and 5.
Of the semifinalists, all but Baxter was a member of the 1994 U.S. team for
the Curtis Cup, which had been held just two weeks earlier. All eight members
of the Great Britain and Ireland team played in the Women's Amateur and advanced
to match play. The highest finisher among the group was Lisa Walton, of Berkshire,
England, who lost to McGill in the third round, 2 and 1.