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For Proven Winner Stasi, 2013 Has Singular Focus

If you didn’t know better, you might think Meghan Stasi’s January sojourn to Australia was just a search for more worlds to conquer. After all, 2012 was a tour de force for the 34-year-old Oakland Park golfer. She began the year by winning the prestigious Ione D. Jones/Doherty Women’s Amateur. Then it was Florida’s Women’s Amateur Championship, where she notched a 3-and-2 victory over Marie Arnoux in the finale. She teamed with Palm Beach Gardens’ Tara Connelly to win the Florida Four-Ball Match Play Championship and capped her season in style by winning her fourth U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title in October. For her efforts, she became the first three-time Florida State Golf Association Women’s Player of the Year. So, who could blame her for looking for more trophies to chase? The fact is the trip had been three years in the making. She’s all about the life experience, and a fortnight-and-a-half in the Land Down Under just had to be a life experience with a little tournament golf thrown in for good measure. Stasi wasn’t disappointed. “The first tournament was the Women’s Lake Macquarie Amateur,” she said. “And I finished eighth there. Then it was off to the Australian Women’s Amateur Championship. I qualified for the 32-player match-play field and got knocked out in the quarterfinals. “One thing I noticed was that the problems a mid-amateur has here in the Amateur Championship and in Australia are all the young players. It gets harder to beat them all the time.” Her fortunes there improved as time went on. “My last tournament was a professional event (the Bing Lee/Samsung Women’s NSW Championship) and I was okay with the way I played,” she said. “I made the cut for the first time in a professional tournament. I made eight birdies in the second round, and that was the most I’ve made in a tournament round. I had some problems in the final round and slid down to around 50th place, but I led the field in birdies for the tournament.” During her stay in Australia there were odd times when she and her family were able to sample a bit of Aussie golf while maybe taking a step back in time. “We stayed at the Victoria Golf Club, and it was great,” Stasi said. “They have 12 rooms in the clubhouse. It was going back in time. You could feel how the golfers in olden times must have felt. It was really neat to have had that experience.” Stasi had one day following the tournament to enjoy her success before the interminably long flight home. The travel, the adrenaline of the tournament atmosphere and the inexplicable joy one gets from new experiences wasn’t lost on her. Yet, rather than savor the experience, she jumped right back into the fray, teaming with Connelly again to win the Women’s International Four-Ball Championship. It was business as usual. “You can’t stop,” she said with a chuckle. “You just jump right back in. I don’t know how the pros do it. They travel every week and play at such a high level. It’s pretty impressive. I’m glad I don’t have to do it.” Really? Isn’t there still a part of her that thinks it’s not a bad way to go as she once did? “Yes and no,” Stasi answered. “I’m glad to have had the experience, but I love working in the restaurant (the Shuck ’N’ Dive, owned by her husband in Fort Lauderdale) and all the other things that I’m able to do.” One of her tasks for the 2013 season is to take 2012 and put it in the closet and set her sights on a new year. It seems the toughest part of the task is going to be finding space for the 600-pound gorilla known as the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “That’s not until October at the end of my season, and I’ll have a lot of practice going in, so I’ll be ready to go,” Stasi said. “I got over looking ahead the second year that I won back-to-back the first time (in 2006-07; she also captured the title in 2010). “I don’t think like that. If I did, I don’t think I could have won it four times. It’s not just another tournament, but it is just another tournament. I have to just go in there and be ready to play.” She knows what the scenario will be when she steps on the first tee at North Carolina’s Biltmore Forest Country Club, and it will be quite similar to the one she finds every time she tees it up in competition here in the Sunshine State. “I have 131 players who want to be where I am,” Stasi said resolutely. “The good thing is I have confidence in what I’m doing. It’s just going to be another great week for me.” Right now, Stasi is facing the daunting task of scheduling her life for the next six months, trying to find the proper balance between golf and civilian life. “It takes a lot of time finalizing a schedule, and matching the time and the money,” she said. “One tournament I know I’ll be playing is the state Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in May.” This will be the inaugural event. You don’t think the FSGA had anyone in mind when they planned this event, do you?


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