September 11, 2014

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) Margaret Shirley won the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur on Thursday, beating defending champion Julia Potter 5 and 3 at Harbour Trees.

The 28-year-old Shirley, a former Auburn player from Atlanta, lost to Potter in 19 holes in the 2013 title match in North Carolina.

''It just doesn't feel real right now,'' Shirley said. ''It's obviously the pinnacle of our sport, a USGA championship, and to be able to say I'm a USGA champion now is incredible.''

Potter, a 26-year-old reinstated amateur from Granger, Indiana, was trying to become the fourth player to successfully defend a title.

''I was going to need birdies to beat her,'' Potter said. ''I just wasn't knocking them close enough or really sinking putts to be able to put any pressure on her. She played an amazing front nine, an amazing round and she's much deserving of this championship.''

Shirley became the fourth stroke-play medalist to win the event, following Carol Semple Thompson in 1997, Ellen Port in 2000 and Potter in 2013.

In the rain-delayed semifinals, Shirley beat Meghan Stasi of Oakland Park, Florida, 5 and 4, and Potter topped Tara Joy-Connelly of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, 2 and 1.

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