Semple Thompson wins 15th WGAWP title
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It took 90 extra minutes to get on the course, and it took three extra holes to get off it, but in the end, Carol Semple Thompson left Oakmont Country Club Friday with yet another trophy.
Semple Thompson won her 15th Women's Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania championship thanks to a sudden-death, match-play victory over Courtney Myhrum.
"They don't get any less enjoyable," Semple Thompson said. "In fact, with each year, as I get older, they get a lot more enjoyable as they get harder."
After an hour-and-a-half rain delay before the first hole, Myhrum certainly made Semple Thompson work for the win. Myhrum won three of the first five and held the lead until the 17th hole. Then again, Myhrum expected a comeback from the World Golf Hall of Famer all along.
"She had some trouble," said Myhrum, the medalist Monday from stroke-play qualifying. "But I turned to my caddie after the [fifth] hole when I was 3 up and I said, 'Justin, trust me, this won't last long. She's going to straighten it out and she'll be back.' "
Myhrum would not win another hole on the rain-soaked course, and some difficulty in a 17th-hole bunker allowed Semple Thompson to tie the match and force sudden death. Both hit into the bunker known as "Big Mouth," which protects the front side of the green. Semple Thompson got out of the wet sand without too much trouble, but Myhrum was not so fortunate.
"Bunkers were wet and sand was heavy, so if you're in there, it's a challenge for sure," Myhrum said. "I hit mine too heavy and left it in there, and she hit hers out."
Semple Thompson's bogey outdid Myhrum's double bogey, and the match was tied. After a halved 18th hole, the two went to sudden death, beginning on the first hole, the same spots where Semple Thompson had trouble at the beginning of the day.
The second time through, it was Myhrum who encountered difficulty, hitting into bunkers on the second and third holes of sudden death. The latter mistake proved too much, and Semple Thompson's victory was in hand with a par.
"For me, it's still to try and stick to my game plan, get a par," Semple Thompson said. "That's actually what happened ... the third hole she put herself in trouble again, and I hit good shots there."
The title comes 47 years after Thompson's first victory in the tournament. In 1965 she beat a familiar foe, her mother.
"I won easily, and I do [take pride in that], actually," Semple Thompson said. "I think my mother had mixed feelings about playing against me. I was such a kid, I didn't think anything about it. I just went out and played really well, and she didn't play very well."
Nearly five decades later, occasionally Semple Thompson has trouble counting all the victories.
"I think it's 15," she said. "I think I miscounted in the books, so this is 15."
First Published July 21, 2012 12:08 am