Ann Laughlin of Riverton Country Club was the 1972 Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women individual champion, leading the University of Miami to the team title.
For those unfamiliar with the history of women’s sports in this country, the AIAW was the ruling body for women’s college sports before the NCAA finally deemed women’s sports worthy to come under its umbrella.
Laughlin has won the Women’s Match Play Championship 11 times, one short of the record 12 owned by the late great Helen Sigel Wilson.
So when Maddie Sager, runnerup in the PIAA Class AAA Tournament for Owen J. Roberts last fall, squares off with Laughlin in the semifinals of the Philadelphia Women’s Amateur Thursday morning at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale, Sager will be confronting one of the legends of the local golf scene.
Laughlin punched her ticket to the final with a 4 and 3 victory Wednesday over defending champion Suzi Spotleson, who plays out of RiverCrest Golf Club and Preserve.
Sager, playing out of Spring-Ford Country Club, survived a tough test against a familiar scholastic rival, Sammie Staudt, a recent Coatesville graduate. Sager edged Staudt, playing out of Applecross Country Club, on the 19th hole to earn her spot in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, former Central Bucks East standout Ashley Cassidy claimed a 3 and 2 victory over former Lower Merion standout Alessandra Liu in a battle of Commonwealth National Golf Club members.
Cassidy is a senior at the University of Cincinnati while Liu became the first William & Mary golfer to reach the NCAA Championship to cap her senior season this spring. Liu will also represent the Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia in the U.S. Women’s Amateur when it tees off Aug. 1 at Rolling Green Golf Club.
Cassidy’s semifinal opponent will be Merion Golf Club’s Catherine Elliott, a former Academy of Notre Dame and University of Pennsylvania standout. Elliott knocked off Penn State sophomore Cara Basso, 2-up. Basso, the 2012 PIAA Class AA champion as a sophomore at Villa Maria Academy, is playing out of Whitford Country Club.
The first flight semifinals will pit Karen Siegel of Commonwealth National against Ruth Averback of Old York Road Country Club and AK Frazier of Gulph Mills Golf Club against another Philadelphia women’s golf legend, Merion’s Liz Haines.
Siegel topped Karen McFadden of Overbrook Golf Club, 4 and 3, Averback defeated Maggie Schueller of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, 2 and 1, Frazier edged Patricia Hughes-Gelardi of Philadelphia Cricket Club, 1-up, and Haines, who qualified for match play in the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur at Hillwood Country Club in Nashville, Tenn. last year, claimed a 1-up decision over Linda Kennedy of Commonwealth National.