Repeat Champions at LPGA National Team


CARMEL, Calif. ' Dede Cusimano of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Mary Enright of Armonk, NY., broke out of a five-way, first-round tie at the State Farm LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) National Team Championship by carding a tournament-low 68 in the final round to take home their second consecutive title in the prestigious team event.
Cusimano and Enright finished one stroke ahead of Karen Davies and Anne-Marie Palli. Lorraine Klippel and Leslie Van Syckle captured the title in the senior division, for players 50 years of age and older, by two strokes.
The tournament, which is the premier team competition for LPGA T&CP members and is in its 14th year, featured 36 championship division teams and 11 senior division teams. LPGA T&CP members competed in teams of two for a $39,700 purse in the 36-hole event, held Nov. 8-9 at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, Calif. The first round consisted of four-ball stroke play competition, while the second round was alternate shot.
Cusimano and Enright, who won last years event after a grueling five-hole, sudden-death playoff, made sure no more than 36 holes were needed to decide the 2004 championship. With four other teams tied at 69 (-1) after Rd. 1, Cusimano and Enright needed their best games over the Carmel Valley Ranch layout to take home the title.
Enright kept the defending champions on track with a 15-foot par-saving putt on the first hole, and Cusimano did her part by holing a clutch 20-footer on the 15th to maintain their the lead. The key shot, however, came on the 16th hole, where Enright nailed her 186-yard 9-wood shot to 4 feet and Cusimano brushed in the birdie.
The teams final-round 68 left them at 137 (-3) and one stroke clear of dual LPGA Tour/T&CP members Davies and Palli, who carded matching rounds of 69.
Mary and I have very similar games, so it is much easier for us to play together in the alternate-shot format, in which we always seem to excel, said Cusimano, the 2003 Golf for Women Magazine LPGA T&CP Championship winner. Our success in this tournament is all about staying patient and making crucial putts.
They have certainly had their share of success in the State Farm LPGA T&CP National Team Championship. In addition to claiming last years title, Enright/Cusimano tied for fifth in 2002 and lost in a sudden-death playoff in 2001. Cusimano won the team championship in 1998 while paired with Linda Nevatt, and Enright won in 1993 and 1997 with Kelley Spooner.
In the Senior Division, Van Syckle, of Newton, N.J., and Klippel, of Camp Hill, Pa., finally tasted victory after consecutive runner-up finishes in 2002-03. Van Syckle and Klippel carded rounds of 69-71 to win by two strokes over Karyn Dunphy and Julie Lynd.
In addition to the competition, the LPGA T&CP membership honored Holly Juergens, Professional of the Year; Rosey Bartlett, Teacher of the Year; and Sally Austin, Coach of the Year, during a special celebration on Nov. 7.