The list of sports legends in the Western Pennsylvania area is as long as a country mile.
There are few people who wouldn’t recognize the names Jack Lambert or Ulf Samuelsson, but there are some all-time greats who dominate their sports whether or not it gets noticed. One of those is in place to bring home another title.
Carol Semple Thompson, who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame and has won the PGA “First Lady of Golf Award,” won her Thursday match-play round, 3-2, against second-seeded Danielle Proctor to advance to the final of the Women’s Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania Championship.
“I played [Proctor] in May, and she cleaned my clock, so I was pretty pleased to prevail over her,” said Thompson, who will face Kristen Obush for the title. “I think I was 3 over par, we both gave each other some presents in the round, but she gave me more, obviously.”
It wasn’t the easiest of days at Valley Brook Country Club. Thompson birdied Nos. 2 and 3, but double bogeyed No. 4 to negate the fast start. She went on to bogey three more holes in the round, but still managed to reach another final.
Thompson, who has won the tournament a record 15 times in her career, said the hardest part of the course so far has been the greens because she hasn’t been able to zone in on a distance and has been hitting it slightly too hard.
Before Thompson even had the opportunity to bypass Proctor, she was almost eliminated by a newcomer on the scene. Mia Kness, 15, took her to a third playoff hole Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
“Mia Kness played very well; we had a wonderful time,” Thompson said. “She’s 15 years old and I’m 65, so I figure I have 50 years on her.
“I mean, I’m thrilled to be in the match play still at my age, so playing with Mia was really special. She’s a lovely young lady. She’s going to be a very good player. She’s a good player now, but she’s going to go on to be a good college player, so that was terrific for me.”
If Kness and Proctor were tough to overcome, taking out Obush today will be even more difficult. She defeated Jane Wymer, 2-1, to give her the opportunity to continue her reign on top after winning the tournament in 2013.
“[My round] went pretty well,” Obush said. “I played consistently. … Between the two of us, there were a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I think it went really well.”
She said beating Thompson will take getting “a lot of pars and a lot of birdies,” which she said she plans on doing by focusing on her accuracy in deep shots. It will presumably take nothing short of a perfect round to knock off one of the best.
RJ Schaffer: Rschaffer@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rjschaffer.