Lisa Schlesinger's strength all week has been her length.
But the former fast-pitch softball player came up two feet short with an approach shot on the second playoff hole of her semifinal match of the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur on Wednesday at The Honors Course.
Terri Frohnmayer, who hit first on almost every shot because Schlesinger out-drove her by an average of 40 yards, beat Schlesinger 1-up in 20 holes.
"It's not how you drive, it's how you arrive," said Frohnmayer, who dispatched Kim Eaton 5 and 4 in the quarterfinals. "I don't care where she hits it. I just watch my shot and play my ball."
Defending champion Mina Hardin also advanced to the championship match by defeating 2007 champion Anna Schultz 4 and 3 in the semifinals with an impressive birdie run midway through their match.
Hardin, who defeated Nancy Smith in the quarterfinals Wednesday morning, will attempt to complete her title defense on Thursday at 8 a.m.
She and Schultz were all-square through seven holes. Hardin won No. 8 with par, then birdied the next three holes to go 4 up, and she won with another birdie on No. 15.
"We worked real hard this week, so it's a wonderful thing to be in the finals," said Hardin, who made a mid-round putting adjustment at the request of her caddie and husband Gary. "But we still have some work to do."
Hardin left The Honors Course to rest up before the Frohnmayer-Schlesinger match came to a conclusion.
On the determining hole, Schlesinger had 60 yards remaining to reach the par-5 No. 2 at The Honors Course. Frohnmayer reached the green in three shots and had about a 45-foot putt for birdie. She left that putt three feet short.
Schlesinger factored in another five yards for the elevated green for a total of 65 yards to a pin tucked to right edge and above a big bunker. Her wedge shot came up short from her angle and rolled down about 20 feet into rough between the bottom of the hill and a bunker.
"I really felt like I could have won and nobody likes losing," said Schlesinger who beat Mary Jane Hiestand 5 and 3 in the quarterfinals. "I didn't calculate enough for the uphill and I left it short. I chipped it too long, and she two-putted, and it didn't matter after that."
Earlier in the match -- which was refereed by USGA official Jean St. Charles of Signal Mountain -- Frohnmayer owned a 2 up lead after No. 12, but Schlesinger birdied No. 13.
Schlesinger, who has SPANKEE on her custom Maryland license plate, pulled even when Frohnmayer three-putted No. 16.
They matched each other shot for shot, and putt for putt, until the final hole when Schlesinger -- one of the longest hitters in the field -- came up short with her approach.
"Will somebody pinch me?" asked the 55-year-old Frohnmayer. "I'm ecstatic to be in the final."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...