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Silvia Cavalleri

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 lead.

"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 was dormie.

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."

Championship Facts

U.S. Women's Amateur

HISTORY: The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the United States Golf Association’s original three championships. It was first conducted in 1895, shortly after the inaugural U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open. The Women’s Amateur has since been conducted every year except 1917-18, when it was temporarily suspended because of World War I, and 1942-45, when it was suspended because of World War II.

PAR & YARDAGE: Old Warson Country Club will play at 6,422/6,468 yards and par of 35-36—71.

ARCHITECT: Old Warson Country Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened in 1954.

COURSE SET-UP –The USGA Course Rating® for the Women’s Amateur Championship at Old Warson Country Club is 78.1 and USGA Slope Rating® is 140.

Tees and fairways, height of grass – 7/16 inch

Collars, height of grass – 0.2 inch

Putting greens, speed – 11.5-12 feet on USGA Stimpmeter

Intermediate Rough – 1.25 inches (3 feet width)

Primary Rough – 3 inches

FORMAT: The U.S. Women’s Amateur is conducted with 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying. The low 64 scorers then advance to match play, with the champion determined by a 36-hole match-play final.

WHO CAN PLAY: The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is open to female amateurs who have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 5.4.

ENTRIES: A total of 955 contestants entered the 2009 championship. The record of 969 was set in 2006.



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