Potter tops Shirley for U.S. Women's Mid-Am title

Julia Potter during the 2013 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur in Asheville, N.C.

Julia Potter during the 2013 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur in Asheville, N.C.

Julia Potter of Granger, Ind., defeated Margaret Shirley of Rosewell, Ga., in 19 holes, to win the 27th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship on Thursday at Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C.

It was the third U.S. Women’s Mid-Am final to go to extra holes and the first since 1992.

Potter got up early in her match with Shirley, a 2008 Auburn graduate, but was down from holes Nos. 5 to 17. She won the 17th with a par to square the match.

Potter won the 19th hole when Shirley, who defeated four-time U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Meghan Stasi on Wednesday in 19 holes to advance to the final, hit her approach shot into a creek. Potter lagged her birdie putt to less than a foot and was conceded par.

“It feels incredible,” Potter said. “I think it's anybody who plays competitive golf's goal to win a USGA championship, and to be able to do it and to do it here at Biltmore Forest, it means the world to me.”

Potter, 25, defeated Canadian Stefi Markovich, 3 and 2, in the semifinals, and became the second-youngest champion in history. She is a 2011 Missouri graduate.

This was only the third time in championship history that the final match included two players in their 20s.

Potter becomes the first female lefty USGA champion.

Potter also receives a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and an exemption into the 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur.

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