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Semple Thompson Makes History at Senior Womens Am

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SOUTHERN PINES, NC -- Three-time defending champion Carol Semple Thompson made history Monday as she trounced Marilyn Nolan-Johnson, 7-and-6, in the first round of match-play at the 41st U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championship at Mid-Pines Inn & Golf Club.
 
Thompson, the medalist of the stroke-play format, tied Alexa Sterling and Glenna Collett Vare for most consecutive matches won in a single championship with 19.
 
'Let's keep it going,' said Thompson. 'It's nice. My overriding impetus is to make pars and play the course.'
 
The match was even through the first three holes before Thompson got it rolling. She went birdie-birdie-par over the next three holes to go 3-up and after that, Nolan-Johnson fell apart.
 
By the time the duo made the turn Thompson was 5-up and closed out the match on the 12th hole. Nolan-Johnson needed four shots to reach the green at the 347-yard hole and Thompson closed out the match with a bogey.
 
'I hit my irons better than I have,' said Thompson. 'Plus, Marilyn didn't have her best game.'
 
'I'm thrilled to be here,' said Nolan-Johnson. 'It was an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I knew I had to play her at least 10 holes.'
 
Anne Carr, the runner-up last year to Thompson, also had an easy time advancing to the next round. She handled Mary Lou Henderson, 7-and-6, thanks to a front-nine 37.
 
'The thing that separates players is the focus,' said Carr. 'You have to put everything out of your mind and focus. Don't think about dinner that night, don't think about what your opponent is doing.'
 
The featured match of Monday pitted a pair of former Senior Women's Amateur Champions. Nancy Fitzgerald, the 1997 winner, defeated 1992 champion Rosemary Thompson, 3-and-1.
 
'I think what it does is when you see the other person has won a big title, you know that person is a competitor and that she'll never give up,' said Fitzgerald.
 
Other former champions who advanced to the second round were 1985 winner Marlene Streit, who at the age of 68 bested Susan Cummings 2-and-1 and Tish Preuss, the 1991 titlist, who ousted Lida Tingley, 2-up.