Frazier, 53, enjoys the moments at Women's Am
BARRINGTON, R.I. – Alexandra Frazier has a job. That alone makes her an anomaly at the 111th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. She’s also a mom and a wife, putting her in even smaller company. What’s more, she’s 53 years old, nine days older than Sherry Herman, making her the oldest player in this week’s field of 156, a delicate distinction for any female.
Frazier sat in a golf cart after finishing Round 2 on Tuesday and gazed into the Narragansett Bay, which borders the last four holes of Rhode Island Country Club. She spent the past two days squeezing every inch out of her 210-yard drives on the soggy track that played 6,399 yards.
Rounds of 80-88 surely were difficult for the ultra-competitive Frazier to take. But, she kept a very grown-up perspective.
“I loved what the tournament chair said the night of the USGA dinner: ‘No matter what’s going on, keep your head up and say, I’m playing in the U.S. Amateur. Then look out over Narragansett Bay and know that it doesn’t get any better.’ ”
For the past 25 years, Frazier has worked as the executive director of the Valentine Foundation, which makes grants to organizations for women and girls in the Greater Philadelphia area. Her work there led to a charity that Frazier founded seven years ago: Women Golfers Give Back. Frazier and her friends have raised more than $350,000 for seven junior girls golf programs in Philadelphia.
“Golf is such an elitist sport,” said Frazier, who picked up the game at age 25. “I feel so privileged and lucky to get to play. I wanted to reconcile this privileged life that I lead with my charitable spirit.”
Frazier considers herself a real “student of the game,” having attended a short game school, mental golf school and regular lessons with her club pro. She plays out of Gulph Mills Golf Club in King of Prussia, Pa., with her husband, Tom, as well as the prestigious Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla.
Frazier is one of three seniors in the field who were exempt into the championship as finalists at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Frazier earned the nickname “64” last year when she nearly became the first player to win a USGA championship as the 64th seed. She lost in the final match, 2 and 1.
A unique look at the U. S. Women's Amateur
A look at some images through the iPhone App Instagram from the 111th U. S. Women's Amateur Championship in Barrington, Rhode Island.
Frazier missed the cut in her Women’s Amateur debut, in large part because of the distance. Her playing partners often were 50 yards ahead of her off the tee.
“My caddie got sick of saying you have 190 into the wind,” she said.
The average age of the field at RICC was 19.5. Frazier knows too well the kind of resources it takes to qualify for a national championship – no matter the age.
“It’s hard to get here from not belonging to a club,” she said. “I hope some of the girls from our program wind up (at a Women’s Amateur). That would be my dream.”
LPGA player Angela Oh and former Rollins College star Joanna Coe are the biggest names to come out of their scholarship programs.
“Those are our stars,” Frazier said. “There are hundreds of girls who are just learning the skills and staying out of trouble.”
Frazier’s husband, a breast cancer surgeon and 14-handicap, beams with pride when talking about his wife’s habit of taking his money off the course as well as her charitable endeavors.
“I’m a breast cancer surgeon, so I’m kind of a closet feminist,” he said.
Alexandra Frazier, shocked that her husband made such an admission, smiled broadly.
The Women’s Am marks the first of four USGA championships for Frazier (U.S. Mid-Amateur, Senior Amateur and State Team Championships) this year. Rest assured her struggles this week haven’t diminished the enthusiasm.
“What a 2011,” she said. “It’s like I hit the lottery.”