U.S. Women's Amateur
The profile of the U.S. Women's Amateur champion is becoming
less U.S., less adult and less amateur every year. Dorothy
Delasin, who won the crown last week at Biltmore Forest Country
Club in Asheville, N.C., is the latest to personify this trend.
Born in Texas to Filipino parents, Delasin, who now lives in
Daly City, Calif., has represented the Philippines in
international competition and won't celebrate her 19th birthday
until Aug. 26.
Delasin's 4-and-3 victory in the final over South Korea's Jimin
Kang earned her an exemption into the next two U.S. Women's Opens
and a likely spot on the 2000 U.S. Curtis Cup team. "This is like
winning the lotto," she said. But two days later, on Monday,
Delasin turned pro, making her ineligible for those exemptions.
She will compete in the first stage of the LPGA Q school at the
Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., next week.
If the Amateur is any indication, the face of women's golf in the
future will have many colors and few wrinkles. Eleven countries
were represented in the 144-player field last week; seven of the
16 players to reach the third round were foreign-born; and 93
competitors were attending college, with 10 others still in high
Kang, 19, was born in South Korea but moved to Edmonds, Wash.,
with her younger brother, David, four years ago because their
parents wanted them to experience a different culture. Their
mother, Eunhae, spends eight months a year in Edmonds; a family
friend looks after them the rest of the time. In Asheville,
Eunhae, all 5'2" of her, carried Jimin's bag through 36 holes of
stroke play and six matches.
Jimin delighted the gallery with a glowing smile and a tip of
her cap whenever the crowd cheered her shots, but in the final
Delasin went 3 up after four holes, shot a
championship-match-record five-under 67 for the first 18 and
cruised to victory. Delasin hit 24 of 33 greens in the final,
and her putting was good enough to prompt Kang, mid-match, to
joke, in her charming, if not perfect, English, "Hey, girl, give
me some lessons to putt like you."
Although she's 19, Kang is entering her senior year this fall
and has only now begun to consider her college scholarship
options. Delasin, who got her high school diploma in '98,
decided on her future with help from her father, Arsenio, who
carried her bag. "I want her to turn pro," said Arsenio, who
owns a carpet cleaning company. "Why? She's getting old. You
think 19 is young? Nineteen is not young, believe me. That is
not young anymore." --Gene Menez
Mike Reid Revisited
RADAR STILL ON AFTER '89 SWOON
Mike Reid, a 45-year-old who still looks like Richie Cunningham,
is sitting hunched over at his locker at Medinah, talking about
the time he kicked away the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper
Lakes Golf Club in Hawthorn Woods, Ill. Three over for the last
three holes. Lost by one to Payne Stewart. Sat down for a
postmortem with the press and said, "Oh, boy. Where can you go
around here to have a good cry?"--and then cried. The next day a
shattered Reid went home to Provo, Utah, where he was greeted by
his oldest child, Brendalyn, then 8, who held a homemade trophy
in her hands inscribed NO. 1 DAD. "So I keep that in the trophy
case," Reid says.
Reid was back at the PGA last week, making the field as an
alternate and finishing 65th. Before Norman at Augusta or Van de
Velde at the British, there was Reid at the PGA. Radar, his nom
de Tour, was a skinny, woefully short hitter who charmed fans by
describing himself in a self-deprecating style: "I'm the guy who
gets sand kicked in his face at the beach." At Kemper Lakes,
Reid pushed his drive on the 469-yard 16th into the water on the
right. He took a drop and eventually made a 10-footer for bogey.
One up on Stewart, Reid's four-iron on the par-3 17th hole
rolled onto the back fringe. He muffed a chip, missed his par
putt from 20 feet, then missed the two-foot comebacker for
bogey. Now Reid needed to birdie the last, and his approach shot
barely missed the cup before stopping seven feet past it. Back
in Provo a TV station had set up cameras in Reid's living room
to capture the celebration when he won his third Tour title in
three years and first major, but when Reid's birdie putt missed,
he says, "All they showed was hankies being passed around."
Reid hasn't won on the PGA Tour since, but he's kept the authors
of the media guide busy. He and his wife, Randolyn, have six
children, ages 18 to 2. Back from a wrist injury in 1993, Reid
keeps plugging along. He almost lost his Tour card in '98, but
squeaked by at 123rd in earnings. "I've lasted a long time, had
a great career," Reid says. "Short of winning a major, I've done
everything I could do. I need golf. I need to play. Maybe not
competitively, but it helps me make sense out of life. It keeps
me humble and keeps me motivated all at the same time."
TWIN TERRORS STRIKE AGAIN
Back home in Thailand the name Wongluekiet means "group of
honored people who are famous." Fitting, then, that twin sisters
Aree and Naree Wongluekiet (pronounced wan-GLUE-keet) are the
hottest kids on the American Junior Golf Association circuit.
Barely 13--the AJGA's minimum age--Aree and Naree have combined
to win five AJGA tournaments this year, beating players up to
five years their senior.
Last week, days after Aree became the youngest winner of a USGA
championship at the U.S. Girls' Junior, she was at it again. At
the AJGA Canon Cup, an East versus West team event at Hilton
Head Island, S.C., featuring 40 of the world's best juniors, she
was the only player, boy or girl, to go undefeated and untied.
She finished with a 4-0 record.
"The Wongluekiets have no fear," says TCU coach Angie
Ravaioli-Larkin. "It's kind of like when a 10-year-old climbs a
tree and a 30-year-old climbs the same tree. The 30-year-old is
afraid of falling, and the 10-year-old wants to get to the top."
Chan Wongluekiet, the twins' 16-year-old brother, paved the way
for his sisters three years ago by moving to Bradenton, Fla., to
attend the David Leadbetter Golf Academy. When the Wongluekiets'
parents, Injang, a South Korean, and Vanee, a native of Thailand,
retired in '97--they owned a 90-room hotel--they also moved to
Florida, with the twins.
The Wongluekiets, whose three scholarships at the academy are
worth $38,000 apiece per year, make no bones about why they
moved to the U.S. Says Vanee, "Nobody can beat them at home."
That's true here as well, where the 5'3" sisters evoke another
player of Korean heritage, Grace Park. "They look like little
kids," says Leigh Anne Hardin, a 17-year-old from Martinsville,
Ind., and the 1998 USGA Girls' champ. "But they play as if
they're 20 years old." --Don Markus
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG Money player Delasin turned pro after beating Kang 4 and 3.
COLOR PHOTO: SUZANNE COLE
COLOR PHOTO: JASON BURFIELD
COLOR PHOTO: BERNARD LITTLEFIELD
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS Different look Stewart takes the Tour to task for the Ryder Cup's woes.
IMPEACHING THE PRESIDENTS
The Ryder Cup rift can be traced to the limp PGA Tour event
trying to ride its coattails
It's not surprising that David Duval provoked outrage when he
cried that the PGA of America is exploiting the U.S. Ryder Cup
team. Duval and Tiger Woods, who joined in grousing that the
$5,000 stipend allotted to Ryder competitors was too meager,
were correct in noting that the PGA reaps $17 million or more in
net revenue from the Cup. But Duval, Woods and some other
members of the 12-man team that will play Europe's best at the
Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Sept. 24-26, seemed to forget
that the PGA is a nonprofit organization that uses Cup proceeds
to run events for lesser lights and to support various
Facing charges of greed, Duval claimed that he'd been
misunderstood, that what he really wanted the money for was his
own charities. Woods said that was also true in his case. But as
Brad Faxon pointed out, Woods and Duval, who have won a combined
$6.4 million this year, hardly need such help if they want to
give to charity.
So what's really the issue here? "The reason this [controversy]
is occurring is the Presidents Cup," says Payne Stewart, laying
the blame on the Ryder wannabe event hatched by PGA Tour
commissioner Tim Finchem in 1994. With the Presidents Cup, which
matches a U.S. team against a squad of foreign pros from
anywhere but Europe, filling even years and the Ryder odd--and
with both events requiring the U.S. players to glad-hand
corporate heavies--top pros now must go through the whole tired
exercise every 12 months instead of every 24. Woods hints that
this is part of his objection when he wearily says, "It's pros
In fact, two biennial international team matches are one too
many. Last December's Presidents Cup in Melbourne roused so
little interest--partly because the time difference between
Australia and the U.S. made it inconvenient to watch on TV--that
even the U.S. players seemed drowsy, losing 20 1/2 to 11 1/2 to
a team featuring the likes of Vijay Singh and Steve Elkington,
players who can be seen on the Tour every week.
Stewart worries that, burdened with two international team
events, the top golfers will start opting out of the Ryder Cup,
as the top U.S. tennis players do with the Davis Cup. The answer
is not to funnel the Ryder proceeds through the players. This
was never about philanthropy. The answer is to recognize the
Presidents Cup for the clutter it is and get rid of it.
What do these players have in common?
They were second to Chi Chi Rodriguez in the 1986, '87 and '88
Digital Seniors Classics. This week Hale Irwin tries for his
third straight win at the event, now the BankBoston Classic.
Did the made-for-TV match with Tiger Woods and David Duval
exceed, meet or fail to meet your expectations?
--Based on 267 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Was Ben Crenshaw wise not to make Fred Couples a
captain's selection for the Ryder Cup? Vote at
How did the PGA compare with the other majors of '99? Here's a
look at rounds under par, at par, over par and 80 or over as
well as some other numbers from Augusta, Pinehurst No. 2,
Carnoustie and Medinah.
MASTERS* OPEN BRITISH PGA
Under 72 29 18 120
Par 44 26 10 51
Over 185 391 428 274
80[**] 14 29 104 17
Eagles 29 3 14 11
Birdies 796 728 829 1,209
Pars 3,343 4,861 4,448 5,091
Bogeys 1,080 2,161 2,401 1,547
Doubles[**] 148 235 448 178
Avg. Score 73.96 74.55 76.82 73.55
*Limited field [**]Double bogeys or worse
Ken Schall, Waterloo, Iowa
Schall, 40, the head pro at Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo,
is the reigning Iowa PGA Section Player of the Year, an award he
has won seven times. Schall, the winner of four Iowa PGA
Championships, two Iowa Opens and two Nebraska Opens, shot 75-75
to miss the cut in his fifth PGA.
Darrell Kestner, Glen Cove, N.Y.
Kestner, 46, the head pro at Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, is
one of two men to win the PGA Club Pro Championship (1996) and
Assistants Championship ('82, '87), and the only player to make
consecutive eagles on par-4s in a Tour event (1983 Texas Open).
Kestner shot 75-80 in his eighth PGA.
Mike Baker, Bradley, Maine
Baker, 37, the assistant pro at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, is
the New England PGA Section champion. A three-time All-America
at Methodist College, Baker won the title at the Agawam Hunt
Club in Providence, where he set the course record with a
second-round 65. He shot 80-75 at the PGA, his first.
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