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Maryland’s Fitzgerald tops U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier

EASTON, Pa. — Whenever a trip to Pennsylvania is a possibility, Jane Fitzgerald will take it. Especially if it leads to another trip to a national championship.

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  Fitzgerald, 56, of Kensington, Md., carded a 3-over-par 75 to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Northampton Country Club (par 72, 5,695 yards). Merion Golf Club’s Elizabeth Haines and Honeybrook Golf Club’s Allison Long also advanced.

  The U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur will take place Oct. 6-11 at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

  “I love Pennsylvania. I went to school in Pennsylvania. I like going to golf courses in the Northeast,” Fitzgerald, a Penn State University alum, said. “I’m really excited to be going back [to the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur]. I’ve been practicing pretty hard all spring and summer to get ready for the event. I’m looking forward to it.”

  It’s easy to see why Fitzgerald embraces the region and the event. She’s qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur on six occasions since becoming eligible in 2012. That year, she fell to three-time champion Ellen Port, 4&3, in the 2012 Final at Hershey Country Club (West) in Hershey, Pa. Fitzgerald advanced to the Round of 32 a year ago at Waverley Country Club in Portland, Ore., where she lost to Sunnybrook Golf Club’s Lisa McGill in 19 holes.

  At Northampton, an “average front nine” put Fitzgerald at 4 over. A few errant shots here, a couple of three putts there. A switch flipped once she birdied the par 4, 365-yard 10th hole.

  “I started hitting my second shots close to the pin,” Fitzgerald said. “I was happy with the way I played on the back nine overall. Maybe I was a little jumpy or nervous at first. I was hitting it well, but just my scoring was average [on the front nine]. I think I just settled into the round.”

  Fitzgerald added two more birdies to her scorecard. On the par 4, 302-yard 14th hole, she stuck a gap wedge 93 yards to six inches. Fitzgerald drained a 20-foot downhiller on the par 3, 112-yard 16th following a solid 9-iron off the tee. The next hole (par 4, 345 yards) spoiled an otherwise clean inward tour. Fitzgerald hooked a drive, forcing a safe play onto the fairway. She reached the green on her third shot and three putted for a 6.

  Fitzgerald is an accomplished individual on the Maryland State Golf Association circuit. She holds five Women’s Amateur titles (1989-90, 1992, 1995, 2000) and a Women’s Open trophy (2001). A busy professional life scales back her competitive schedule these days. She serves as a buyer for her husband Jim, head professional at Chevy Chase Club, and works for a non-profit foundation in Bethesda, Md.

  Haines, 70, of Gladwyne, Pa., qualified for her second consecutive U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. She finished as runner-up in 2004, when she fell to Carolyn Creekmore, 1-up, at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif. Haines also reached the semifinals in 2001. Long, 56, of Coatesville, Pa., will appear in her third U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur (2015-16).

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers
Name, city Score
Jane Fitzgerald, Kensington, Md. 75
Elizabeth Haines, Gladwyne, Pa. 77
Allison Long, Coatesville, Pa. 78
Alternates (in order)
Frances Gacos, Flemington, N.J. 81
Allyson Harrison, Canada 82
Failed to qualify
Colleen Edelman, Ho Ho Kus, N.J. 89
Karen Hansard, Bernardsville, N.J. 89
Barbara Close, Princeton, N.J. 98
Dana Yermish, Wynnewood, Pa. 98
Bonnie Fry, Bel Air, Md. WD
Joanne Van Saun, Dallas, Pa. WD
WD — withdrawal