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Defending champion Shirley reaches US Women's Mid-Amateur final for record third straight year


CHOUDRANT, Louisiana — Defending champion Margaret Shirley reached the U.S Women's Mid-Amateur final for the record third straight year, winning twice Wednesday at Squire Creek to set up a match against Lauren Greenlief.

The 29-year-old Shirley, from Roswell, Georgia, beat Ashley Tonore of Monroe, Louisiana, 3 and 2 in the morning quarterfinals, and topped Canada's Christina Proteau 2 and 1 in the afternoon semifinals.

"There is so much luck involved in doing that," Shirley said about her finals streak. "I played really well today."

Shirley lost to Julia Potter in the 2013 final at Biltmore Forest in North Carolina, then beat Potter last year at Harbour Trees in Indiana. The former Auburn player is the executive director of Atlanta Junior Golf.

The 25-year-old Greenlief, from Oakton, Virginia, beat Argentina's Mercedes Huarte 1 up in the quarterfinals, and routed Whitney Britton of Laguna Niguel, California, 8 and 6 in the semifinals.

Greenlief played at Virginia and is a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. She's the youngest player in the field in the event limited to players 25 and older.

"I hit the ball unbelievably well this afternoon," Greenlief said. "This morning was a tight match. I hit some shots that I wasn't really happy with. When I'm playing golf, I'm really perceptive about what's going on, so I learned some stuff this morning about the pins and played some shots a little differently this afternoon, and I think it really paid off."

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