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Sports

Golf takes backseat for Senior Amateurs

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001

The flags flied at half staff on the golf course, and the winners certainly didn't celebrate.

Eight women made the cut at the USGA Senior Women's Amateur at the Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley after the second and third rounds of match play.

Their individual victories seemed insignificant in light of Tuesday's tragedy.

That is why the flags were at half-staff in memory of the thousands of people who died.

The crowds were subdued, and many of the golfers were in shock. Yesterday's event was one of only two professional sporting events played in the country in the wake of the terrorist attack on the United States. The other was the USG Men's Senior Amateur played in St. Louis.

The quarterfinals and semifinals of the women's event are expected to be held today, with the championship set for Thursday.

Marainne Towersey, who is the medalist from the two-round qualifier Saturday and Sunday, played two great rounds yesterday but couldn't be too excited.

'I am saddened by the world events,' said Towersey, of Newport Beach, Calif., who defeated Cecilia Mourgue-D'Algue of France, 1-up in 18 holes to advance to the Elite 8. 'But I am thrilled and excited to still be a part of the competition. I guess we are going to go on with the show.'

All the golfers said it was hard to concentrate once they heard the news of what happened. Most of them didn't know until after the second round was complete because they had teed off at 8 a.m.

Towersey struggled in the early holes, but then just concentrated on golf.

She hit her best and worst shot of the day on the same hole.

She hit a beautiful drive on No. 18, but she then hit her 3-wood into the sand trap. She recovered with a shot at the edge of the green and made a two-putt.

Karen Feree also advanced to the Elite 8.

'I am really excited, but I don't think I will ever forget this day,' said Ferree, of Hilton Head, S.C., who was an assistant professional at the Youghiogheny Country Club and the Montour Heights Country Club in the late 1970's. 'When my caddie told me after the first round, I couldn't believe it. Golf is so minor compared to what happened. I have never lived through war ... but this is war.'

Ferree, who originally planned to fly home, changed her mind and will drive back to South Carolina.

Sewickley resident Carol Semple Thompson easily won yesterday. She defeated Jean Smith of Boise, Idaho, by six with five holes to go..

'It was hard to concentrate,' said Semple Thompson, who is the defending champion. 'Golf seemed almost unimportant, not totally unimportant. Golf was not foremost in my mind ... but we need to keep moving on.'

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