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Stasi Enjoys Glow Of Fourth Mid-Am Victory

If you want to see the model of a champion, go to Oakland Park, Fla., and check out Meghan Stasi. Last month, she became only the second player to win the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur four times, joining Ellen Port.
Sometimes victories have a certain déjà vu to them. Stasi was to say that her 2012 championship was a one-time event. While everyone agreed she was going down in flames when she was 5 down with six holes to play to Lynne Cowan in the second round, she rallied to win the match in 22 holes. USGA-types will tell anyone that Stasi’s comeback was the best in the his-tory of the tournament.
A lot of people said that Stasi’s comeback was the pinnacle of the tournament. She certainly won’t argue.
“It was unbelievable,” said Stasi. “I look back at it and I still can’t figure out how I did it. I think a lot of it came from my support group. I had my dad (Mike Bolger) on the bag and that was great. Also, we had a lot of family and friends who walked every hole with us. That gave me a lot of confidence.
“Sure, my confidence was high after the comeback, but I still had four matches to play,” she said. “I had to at least maintain that level, so that meant a lot of practice and I also had to keep mentally strong and maintain my focus.”
To Rick Martino, the 34-year-old’s longtime instructor, Stasi is strong in all facets of the game.
“Physically, she’s strong and she hits it long,” he said. “She’s a real good iron player and putter. She also makes a lot of pressure putts.”
Martino is one of the gifted few who can recognize factors that can be developed into a high level of competency. In fact, he’s getting to being recognized as the “Guru of the Mid-Am” as he also has 2012 men’s Mid-Am champion Nathan Smith under his tutelage.
In Stasi, he sees very special components that set her apart from the rest.
“She really loves to compete,” Martino said. “She loves being in the mix. I think her experience of being a college golf coach (at University of Mississippi) gives her a better understanding of the work it takes to play at the highest level. She knew what to do from telling her team what to do.
“When she practices, she doesn’t try to do everything. She will have one or two things she wants to work on. … She’s very focused and we always work on trust. You always have to be able to trust your swing under pressure.”
It’s a good thing Stasi has trust in her swing and is of sound mind and body, because she’ll have ton of pressure on her shoulders when she steps to the tee at the 2013 U.S. Mid-Am. No one has won the championship five times.
“First, it’s an honor to win this championship one time, never mind four times,” Stasi said. “Sure I can. I’m fairly young. I enjoy the competition and if I can remain mentally and physically healthy, I can win it again. One thing about this tournament is that you don’t have to worry about beating the kids.”
Now it’s time for Stasi to rake in the perks from her championship. She received a 10-year exemption from qualifying for the Mid-Amateur and received exemptions into the next two U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships.
Stasi says she was excited when she was making out her schedule for 2013. There are major additions and a disappointing deletion.
“I’ll be going to Australia for three weeks in January to hopefully play in three events. We’ve been planning on this trip for three years,” Stasi said. “The only drawback is I won’t be able to defend at the Jones Cup. I’ve always loved that tournament.”
Stasi should. Her win there kicked off a wonderful 2012. She went on to win the Florida State Amateur and, of course, the U.S Mid-Amateur.
There would be other honors.
She was named the Southern Golf Association Player of the Month for October, only the second woman be so honored. The other was Michelle Wie. “I thought that was pretty good,” Stasi said. “The other was the mayor of Oakland Park is going to honor me.”
Let’s put Stasi’s career in perspective. With one more Mid-Am win, she would be the all-time winner with five. With one more win after that she would be tied for the all-time lead in USGA victories with Glenna Collett Vare, who won six U.S. Women’s Amateur titles between 1922 and 1935. Should she win three more USGA tournaments, we’re talking Hall of Fame eligibility.
Is this scenario a probability? No. Is it a possibility? Most definitely. Once the fifth win occurs, the elephant representing the sixth and seventh could be around for a very long time.


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