TULSA Okla. (Sept. 21, 2008) – Past champion Carolyn Creekmore, 56, of Dallas, Texas, posted a 2-under-par 69 Sunday for a 36-hole total of even-par 142 to earn stroke-play medalist honors at the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur at Tulsa Country Club.
Creekmore’s total was three strokes better than reigning U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Joan Higgins, 52, of Glendora, Calif., who shot 74 for a total of 3-over 145. Higgins had shared the first-round lead with Noreen Mohler, 54, of Bethlehem, Pa., at 71.
Mohler slipped to a 78 Sunday for a total of 7-over 149 and was tied for third best with 50-year-old Maggie Weder of Greenville, N.C. Last year’s Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up Robyn Puckett, 61, of Irvine, Calif., and Pat Cornett, 54, of Mill Valley, Calif., were three shots farther back at 152. Four-time champion Carol Semple Thompson, 59, of Sewickley, Pa., was another stroke back at 153.
Creekmore, the 2004 champion, had nine one-putts and made four birdies on her last nine holes to help give her the only sub-par round in this age 50-and-over championship on the 5,760-yard, par-71 course that was also host to the 1960 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
“I really want to do it again,” said Creekmore, who reached the quarterfinals of the recent U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. “I just want to validate that I am good enough and my win wasn’t a fluke.
“I was as good that week [in 2004] as I’ve ever been. I’ve never been that good, but I was pretty good today. This is so much fun, it’s scary.”
Play continues Monday with the first round of match play for the low 64 scorers from the 132-player field. The match-play portion of the championship runs through Thursday.
The cut for match play came at 20-over-par 162, with seven players involved in a playoff to determine the final four spots for match play.
The course played tougher Sunday, and Higgins was the first to admit it.
“I worked hard for that 74,” she said. “I just couldn’t see the lines as well today. But now it’s just about whoever plays better each day, and anyone can win. I proved that at the Mid-Amateur.”
Others who had mixed emotions were Mohler and Semple Thompson, who will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in November.
“I lost my aggressiveness at some point today,” said Mohler, a former USA Curtis Cup player who reached the semifinals at the Women’s Mid-Amateur. “I’m mad at myself that I didn’t stay aggressive.”
Semple Thompson was more philosophical.
“I’m playing tomorrow and that makes me happy,” said the seven-time USGA champion. “I just had a little trouble on the back nine. The course is great, but my game is a little questionable right now. I hope it gets better.”
Defending champion Anna Schultz, 54, of Rockwall, Texas, safely advanced with a 12-over-par 154, even though she took a quadruple-bogey 8 after taking four strokes to get out of a greenside bunker on the 13th hole.
“I was in that bunker and thinking about how many shots I was giving away,” said Schultz, who took a gamble in getting over a high lip. “I broke into a sweat. I should have just come out to the side and taken my bogey.”
The Senior Women’s Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
--Story written by Craig Smith, USGA