Semple Thompson falls in final

WOMEN'S GOLF

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Valley Brook Country Club is an interesting place. It's a wide open course that can get any golfer in a swing if they start hitting the long fairways.

Yet every few holes, there's something lying in the mist waiting to swallow up any round that hoped to turn out good. There are deep woods that won't forgive slices, there's traps as wide as a semi and there's pockets of water waiting to be fed.

It's hard to predict if even a perfect shot will land in its place. It produces unpredictable results like on Friday when Kristen Obush upset Carol Semple Thompson, 5 and 3, to win the Women's Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania Championship.

"Carol and I, between the two of us, made a bunch of birdies today," said Obush, who also won in 2013. "I know she didn't putt as well as she would have liked, but when we play, we always have a good match. I'm pleased with the outcome.

"You always want a tight match, you don't want somebody to win 10 and 8, but you want a good match. There were a lot of pars and good shots. It's always a good match to play with Carol."

Though it might seem like a surprise that someone like Semple Thompson, who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, was eliminated with three holes left to play, there wasn't as much of a gap as it may appear.

Obush led by three entering the turn, and although that lead only got as low as two, Semple Thompson had every opportunity to turn it into a longer match. Obush made the shots when it mattered and Semple Thompson came up just short.

Semple Thompson missed a putt on 13 and then followed that with another short missed putt on 14. Though both of those putts played a role in failing to capture her 16th title, it was the final hole, 15, that quelled all hope for a comeback.

Her second shot went just on the edge of the green and her following attempt got to the hole and kept rolling. It rolled and rolled and rolled until it was clear that there would be no more chances.

"I'm disappointed with the way I played, but Kristen played great," Semple Thompson said. "I just couldn't keep up with her. She had lots of birdies. I just didn't have it today.

"My putting has been very suspect all week, but I've been able to manage in the earlier matches, but she was too strong for me today."

Any errant tee shot from Obush was quickly followed by a spectacular save that never allowed Semple Thompson to gain any kind of ground.

Though the outcome may have been different if Semple Thompson converted on a few more putts, it was Obush who will walk away with back-to-back titles and Semple Thompson who will walk away with questions.

RJ Schaffer: Rschaffer@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rjschaffer.


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