Medalist Burke Advances


HILTON HEAD, S.C. -- Medalist Robin Burke, 41, of Houston, Texas, and defending champion Kathy Hartwiger, 37, of Birmingham, Ala., were easy winners in the first round of match play Oct. 13 at the U.S Womens Mid-Amateur Championship at Long Cove Club.
Among the other 30 winners to advance to the second round of match play were past champions Carol Semple Thompson, 53, of Sewickley, Pa., Ellen Port, 42, of St. Louis, Mo., and Virginia Grimes, 39, of Birmingham, Ala.
Burke, the 1997 U.S. Womens Amateur runner-up and wife of 1956 Masters champion Jackie Burke Jr., never trailed in ousting her good friend Lecia Alexander of Stafford, Texas, 6-and-4. Hartwiger had the most lopsided match of the day, beating Donna Benford of Linden, Mich., 8 and 6.
Semple Thompson, the winner in 1990 and 1997, beat Long Cove member and former head golf professional Karen Ferre of Hilton Head, S.C., in the most interesting match of the day, 1-up. Port, a three-time Womens Mid-Amateur champion (1995, 1996 and 2000) built a 2-up lead and hung on to edge Ellen Dempsey of St. Simons Island, Ga., in 19 holes. Grimes, the 1998 champion, defeated Suzi Spotleson of Canton, Ohio, 2-up.
Play continues in this age 25-and-older championship Tuesday with the second and third rounds of match play. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played Wednesday, and the championships final match is set for Thursday.
'You always have one round where you are going to not play your best,' said Burke, who headed for the practice range after winning three straight holes to close the match. I had an advantage because of my length, but I was lucky Lecias putter wasnt working today.'
Hartwiger closed strong as well, taking four consecutive holes to gain a win after just 12 holes. In contrast, the oldest golfer to advance, 56-year-old Toni Wiesner of Ft. Worth, Texas, needed a birdie on the 22nd hole to edge Leeann Fairlie of Oklahoma City, Okla.
Semple Thompson was pleased to move on, but not thrilled with her play. She took control of the match when Ferree bogeyed the 17th hole.
'I had too many bogeys,' said the eight-time USGA champion. 'I knew Karen would putt well. I just tried to outlast her, and thats what happened.'
Ferree putted well for the most part, but a few key misses stuck with her after the loss.
'I had my chances, I just didnt capitalize on them,' said Ferree, wife of professional golfer Jim Ferree. 'I missed key putts at holes 8, 16 and 17. If I make that birdie at 16, I get the lead. But, I hit a lot of good shots. Any time you get to play Carol, wow, thats a treat.'