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Semple Thompson considers moving to senior status

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Sunday, Aug. 8, 2004

Sewickley resident Carol Semple Thompson knows the time is coming to move on.

One of the top women's amateur golfers in the world is considering competing solely in senior events rather than in three -- amateur, mid-amateur and senior amateur.

"I think it is time for me to be thinking more about the senior events," said Semple Thompson, who will compete in this week's U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa. "I have lost in the first round of some of the big tournaments this year, so I am starting to think maybe it's my golf game. So, maybe it's time."

Semple Thompson's hasn't won since last July at the West Penn Amateur. During this year's West Penn tournament, Semple Thompson, 55, lost in the semifinals to 19-year old Katie Trotter of Upper St. Clair.

"It was a lot of fun playing against Carol," said Trotter, who will be a freshman at Maryland this fall. "I was really thrilled to get an opportunity to play against her. It was really a challenge."

Semple Thompson said players such as Trotter are better than her by leaps and bounds. But she hopes for a victory this week on a course she has done well on before.

"I played in the State Championship (at Kahkwa) in 1975 and won it while my mother (Phyllis Semple) won the Senior division," said Semple Thompson, who has been named to 12 Curtis Cup teams and won United States Golf Association Championships at three different levels. "Then, I played in another state (tournament) there and won that. So, I think it should be a good course for me, but I know it is a good course for a lot of people."

Semple Thompson said the course is hilly with elevated greens. She plans to play three practice rounds before the match-play tournament begins Monday. This will be Semple Thompson's 39th time playing in this event. She has only missed it once since 1965.

Before she moves to the Senior division, Semple Thompson said there are still some things she would like to accomplish, such as winning the Canadian Open. She said the next two years would most likely be when she makes the move to solely senior events.

"I have to get myself mentally prepared for senior golf as opposed to regular women's golf, because my concentration is still on the regular amateur events," she said. "I know, even if I decide to play more senior events, I can still play amateur and mid-amateur events. I don't have to decide to play all Senior events. I can just fade away."

Not so quickly, however.

Semple Thompson says she is still competitive, and that motivates her to play against younger, stronger competition. Semple Thompson isn't as consistent as she used to be, and she doesn't have the powerful swings the younger players have or an intensive weightlifting program like they do.

"These young girls have gotten so good and can hit the ball so far," she said. "The competition is great for women's golf. I love the competition and feel like they can learn from me that it takes persistence to have the longevity that I have had.

"Golf is not an easy game, and even though I am not playing as well as I would like to, I am still having fun, just not as much as I would like to have."

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