RYE, NY (September 21, 2005) -- Carol Semple Thompson, playing in her record 102nd United States Golf Association championship, and Diane Lang, playing in her second, will square off for the USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship over 18 holes on Thursday morning at The Apawamis Club.
It is a fitting match-up as Thompson led the 36-hole qualifying rounds with a score of 151 and Lang was tied for second a stroke back at 152.
Thompson, 56, who lives in Sewickley, Pa., will be seeking her eighth USGA women's championship, a record currently owned by Joanne Gunderson Carner. Thompson, who has won seven USGA Championships, including four Senior Women's Amateur titles, two Mid-Amateurs and one Amateur, advanced to the final match by defeating Marianne Towersey of Pebble Beach, Calif., 3-and-2 in the Wednesday morning quarterfinals and by outlasting European Senior Women's champion and longtime rival Cecilia Mourgue D'Algue of France 1-up in the afternoon semifinals. In 1999 Thompson won this championship by defeating Mourgue D’Algue in 19 holes in the finals, and in 2000 Thompson eliminated Mourgue D’Algue in an early-round match.
Lang, 50, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, who now lives in Weston, Fl., ousted defending champion Carolyn Creekmore of Dallas, Tx., 1-up in a thrilling quarterfinal match, and then overpowered Annette Gaiotti, who winters in Utah and summers on Cape Cod, by an 8-and-6 margin in the afternoon semi-finals. The superstitious Lang, who won’t use a golf ball with a number higher than four, was one-under par in defeating Gaiotti.
"This is the dream I've had all week -- playing Carol for the championship," said Lang as she telephoned her husband back in Weston, where he is Mr. Mom this week.
Lang was a pro golfer for much of the 1980s. She played the Futures Tour in 1983, the LPGA Tour in 1984 and the Futures Tour again in 1985. She also made the cut in the 1985 U.S. Women's Open. She tried the European tour for several years, but then marriage and motherhood put her game on hold until 2002. Having regained her amateur status, she began to play in local Florida State Women's Golf Association events with an eye to playing senior golf when she turned 50 in November 2004.
"My strength is my driving," said Lang, whose tee shots travel long distances. "My weakness is my putter. I have a large collection of putters. The one I'm using now has been in the bag for about a week. I wasn't too happy with my putting a few days ago so I suddenly switched my grip and putted cross-handed."
In her match against Creekmore, Lang under-clubbed herself on four relatively short shots to greens, leaving them in bunkers or the rough. "Mental mistakes," she said. "I didn't make those mistakes against Annette."
Thompson is very mindful of the select company she hopes to join. “Joanne and I played together as juniors and in a few U.S. Amateurs,” she said, “and we’ve always been good friends.”
Lang is a rookie to the world of senior golf, but Thompson also knows her well. “We’ve played together in some Florida tournaments, including the Doherty,” Thompson said.
“She has a very strong game.”
Thompson and Lang met up at daybreak Wednesday on the practice range.
“What are you doing here so early?” Thompson asked Lang, whose starting time was a half hour later than Thompson’s
“I’m a nervous wreck about starting times,” Lang said. “When I was on the tour, all I had to do to keep my card for the next season was collect a check in the final event of the year. Well, I got lost driving to the course for the final round and was DQ’d. End of tour. Now I am always early. I’m staying up the road in Darien and it’s pretty easy to get lost on the roads around here. So I give myself all kinds to time to get to the club.”
Rye, NY – Following are match play results from the quarter and semifinal rounds at the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, played at the 5,796-yard, par 36-36—72, Apawamis Club. The final match will be played at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday, September 22:
Match Play Results
Carol Semple Thompson, Sewickley, Pa. def. Cecilia Mourgue D'Algue, France 1 up
Diane Lang, Weston, Fla. def. Annette Gaiotti, Marstons Mills, Mass. 8 and 6
Carol Semple Thompson, Sewickley, Pa. def. Marianne Towersey, Pebble Beach, Calif. 3 and 2
Cecilia Mourgue D'Algue, France def. Robin Donnelley, Lake Forest, Ill. 19 holes
Annette Gaiotti, Marstons Mills, Mass. def. Reggie Parker, Hobe Sound, Fla. 1 up
Diane Lang, Weston, Fla. def. Carolyn Creekmore, Dallas, Texas 1 up
Match Play Pairings
Round -- (Final)
9:00 am Carol Semple Thompson, Sewickley, Pa. vs. Diane Lang, Weston, Fla