Hardy, Franklin, Maurycy, Moore, Pearson, Afeman, Hocking qualify in CO Springs for U.S. Senior Women’s Am
by Gary Baines
USGA national championships are special whether golfers are qualifying for their first one or their 40th.
On Monday at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs, there was a little of both.
Seven Coloradans qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, and three of those seven are in double digits on their USGA national championship resumes.
Marilyn Hardy, a part-time resident of Gunnison, is right around 40 USGA championships and will be playing in her seventh Senior Women’s Am in her seventh year of eligibility.
“Anytime you can qualify for a USGA event, it’s a badge of honor,” said the 56-year-old Hardy.
In a similar vicinity is Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Janet Moore of Centennial, who is now five-for-five in advancing to the Senior Women’s Amateur, with this year’s being her 28th USGA national event overall.
“Which is really impressive until you hear Carol Semple Thompson’s 100-plus,” Moore says with a laugh. “Then it’s like, ‘Oh.’ I remember somebody said, ‘Janet, that’s so good.’ Then you go to the players’ dinner (at USGA events) and there’s 70, 80 and (Semple Thompson’s 100-plus). It’s a different league. There’s a whole different realm out there.”
As for Tiffany Maurycy of Denver, she’s headed to her 11th USGA championship, but her first U.S. Senior Women’s Am.
“There’s no better event that I’ve ever played in than a USGA event, and I’ve been lucky enough to have played in Amateurs, Mid-Ams, the Four-Ball and now the Senior,” the 51-year-old Maurycy said. “This is now my drive. It really is. It’s just an incredible experience.”
Joining those three in earning spots Monday in the national championship — which is set for Oct. 6-11 at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla. — were former professional Kristine Franklin of Broomfield, and the Colorado Springs trio of Jennifer Hocking, Deb Pearson and Helene Afeman. (Six of the qualifiers — with the exception of Franklin — are pictured, from left: Hardy, Maurycy, Moore, Pearson, Afeman and Hocking.)
A total of 28 players teed it up Monday at the Country Club of Colorado, with those seven advancing.
Hardy, who went to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Senior Women’s Am in 2013, earned medalist honors in Colorado Springs with a 5-over-par 76. Franklin, winner of this year’s CGA Women’s Senior Stroke Play, shot a 77. Maurycy, who defeated Franklin in the finals of the 2018 CGA Senior Match Play, posted a 79 thanks to playing her last eight holes in 1 over par. Moore had a similarly strong finish, playing her final six holes in even par for an 81. And Hocking, Pearson and Afeman carded 82s, with Pearson making three birdies on the day, Afeman two and Hocking one.
Hardy, who has made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, was 1 over par for the day through 10 holes on Monday and finished with 13 pars and five bogeys.
Franklin, who advanced to the match play round of 64 at last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Am, was 7 over par through 13 holes, but rallied by playing her last five in 1 under.
Suffice it to say Franklin was a little out of sorts early in her round as she took some medicine in an attempt to clear up her sinuses, which didn’t leave her in peak playing condition. “It made me very jittery,” the 52-year-old said. In addition, she received a text on Monday morning notifying her that her credit cards had been stolen.
“So I didn’t get here in the time I was hoping, and I didn’t start out well,” Franklin said. “I think it was a culmination of everything. But it got better.”
After losing her opening match 5 and 4 in the U.S. Senior Women’s Am last year — the year she returned to competition after an 18-year layoff — Franklin is happy to have another chance at the national championship so soon.
“I will be so excited to be back,” she said. “Even if I lose in the first (match), I just know it will go better. I’ll feel more comfortable and give that person more of a fight. I’m excited. I’ve got another chance.”
Hardy and Moore both have qualified for three USGA championships in 2018 — the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, the upcoming Women’s Mid-Am and the Senior Women’s Am.
Moore is just happy to have advanced on Monday; with her 81, which included going 5 over par on holes 11 and 12 combined, she had her doubts.
“I honestly didn’t think that I’d be going with an 81, so I’m thrilled,” the 54-year-old said. “I’ve been working on some swing changes and I know it sounds crazy shooting an 81, but I’m getting close to playing pretty well. So I’m excited about that.”
As for Hardy, as many USGA championships as she’s competed in, she’s wary about getting complacent in any qualifying tournament.
“You’ve got to do it,” she said. “You can never take it for granted. It’s golf. It’s never easy.”
On Monday, as is almost always the case during qualifiers, Hardy was accompanied by husband/caddie Jim Hardy, a highly-regarded golf instructor.
Among those on site during Monday’s qualifier was Colorado Sports Hall of Famer Dow Finsterwald, who won the PGA Championship 60 years ago this summer. Finsterwald, of course, was a longtime director of golf at The Broadmoor nearby.
U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifying
At Par-71 Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs
ADVANCE TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Marilyn Hardy, Gunnison 37-39–76
Kristine Franklin, Broomfield 41-36–77
Tiffany Maurycy, Denver 42-37–79
Janet Moore, Centennial 41-40–81
Jennifer Hocking, Colorado Springs 43-39–82
Deb Pearson, Colorado Springs 44-38–82
Helene Afeman, Colorado Springs 38-44–82
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Nancy Ziereis, Centennial 43-40–83
Laurie Steenrod, Aurora 44-39–83
For complete results, CLICK HERE.