The weather was warm and breezy with quite a bit of blue in the sky Friday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Militia Hill course, but Jackie Rogowicz was trying to deal with a storm – in this case, a storm of early great play by her opponent in the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur.
Kaitlyn Lees, a co-medalist in qualifying, won four of the first six holes – including one with an eagle, one with a birdie – in their match to go 3-up. Rogowicz finally found her rhythm, however, and birdied four of her last nine holes to capture a 2-and-1 victory.
Rogowicz, a recent Penn State graduate from Yardley, moved into Saturday morning’s semifinals against co-medalist Morgan Frazier of Carlisle, a 3-and-2 winner over three-time champion Katie Miller of Ligonier.
“In the beginning I felt like I let a few things slide, but Kaitlyn was making birdies so it was not like I was playing terrible,” said Rogowicz, the 2016 runner-up in this event. “I eagled 1 and then she eagled 3, and she birdied 6. But I birdied 9 and I was 2-down going into the back nine, and I felt like I got some momentum.”
Rogowicz was conceded a three-foot putt for birdie at No. 10 after Lees made bogey, then evened the match with a par at the 13th. She then knocked in a pair of 15-foot birdie putts, at the par-5 14th and par-4 16th, to take a 2-up lead, and clinched the match with a par at 17.
Of her putting, she said, “At first, I was a little tentative because I had a lip-out or two and I missed a few short ones for par. So I didn’t really know what changed. I put more confident strokes on them.”
After her birdie barrage on the front nine, Lees, an Agnes Irwin School graduate who is entering her sophomore year at Dartmouth, could not get a birdie putt to fall on the back nine. At both the 15th and 16th holes, the pitch mark on her approach shots was within two feet of the hole, but she couldn’t convert putts of 12 feet at 15, and eight feet on 16.
“It was definitely tough,” said Lees, who plays out of Philadelphia Country Club. “I had a similar match (Thursday) that I was able to win in 19 holes, so I definitely felt like I could do it. I didn’t end up making them. But it was a lot of fun to play. Jackie’s a great player. She putted amazing.”
Rogowicz’s Nittany Lions teammate, junior Olivia Zambruno of Pleasant Valley, also advanced to the semifinals with a 5-and-4 win over Julia McLaughlin of Saucon Valley. Zambruno’s opponent will be Seton Hall senior Sammie Staudt of Applecross, who won three of her last four holes in a 1-up victory over Cassidy Gavaghan of Sandy Run.
The 18-hole championship match will be held Saturday afternoon.