CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (Jan. 1, 2012)— In the women’s division, defending champion Paul Reto of Cape Town, South Africa, (69-67-70—206) extended her lead going into Monday’s final round. Her 10-under par total was six better than Jaye Marie Green of Boca Raton, Fla., and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn. Kailey Walsh of Boca Raton was alone in fourth at 215 (76-70-69). Four players, including Moriya’s sister, Ariya, were tied for fifth at even-par 216: England’s Holly Clyburn, Alexandra Bonetti of France, and Madison Opfer of Plant City, Fla.
Diane Lang of Weston, Fla., solidified her reputation as one of the dominant senior golfers in the world Sunday, edging Lisa Schlesinger of Laytonsville, Md., by two shots at Heron Bay Golf Club to claim her third straight senior women’s Dixie Amateur championship. Lang, a three-time U.S. Senior Amateur champion, has won the title every year since the division was established in 2009. Lang looked to be cruising to the trifecta Saturday when she held a six-shot lead over Schlesinger after two rounds. But when she had problems finding the fairways Sunday, the long-hitting Schlesinger took advantage, posting a 3-under 69, the low round of the tournament. “I stumbled a bit on the last few holes and Lisa was closing fast but I managed to hang on,” said Lang who shot 71-73-73—217 over the 54-hole championship. “I’ve been working on improving my swing with a new instructor since September. There’s been a vast improvement in my iron play and putting, but my driver still needs a lot of work. I loved it here this week and I look forward to coming back next year to try to win a fourth time.” Schlesinger (76-74-69—219) finished 10 shots ahead of Ivy Steinberg of Stouffville, Ont., who was alone in third. Almost 100 top female amateur golfers from 21 U.S. states and nine other countries were entered in the Dixie Amateur, one of the most prestigious championships in the world. The women’s championship is played over 72 holes (Friday through Monday) with a 36-hole cut, while the seniors played 54 holes (no cut) from Friday through Sunday. The women’s division of the Dixie Amateur was instituted in 2002. Since then, it has featured world-class fields and an impressive list of champions who went on to make their mark on the LPGA. The inaugural women's champion, future LPGA winner Meaghan Francella, narrowly defeated Paula Creamer, now an LPGA superstar. In 2007, the sensational Alexis Thompson won at the age of 12 before breaking onto the professional scene this year, becoming the youngest-ever to win on the LPGA and European women’s tours at 16. (Her brother, Curtis, a freshman at Louisiana State University, won this year’s men’s Dixie Amateur on Dec. 22.) That same year, two-time Dixie champion Angela Park (2003, 2005) was named the LPGA’s rookie of the year.