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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Springhaven looper Spencer named Caddie of the Year

   A couple of interesting golf notes showed up in the days leading up to Christmas:
The Golf Association of Philadelphia held its J. Wood Caddie Scholarship Trust brunch at Philadelphia Country Club Saturday and the Francis C. Poore Caddie of the Year award went to a looper at The Springhaven Club and a female looper at that, one Shannon Spencer.
   Not sure if a female had ever received the Poore before, but it’s not surprising that a young lady from a Delco club would get the honor. And she’s smart, too. Spencer is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s who is attending the Penn State College of Medicine.
   As a onetime beneficiary of the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Fund and, obviously a former looper myself, I say, “Way to go, Shannon Spencer.”
   The J. Wood Platt scholars got to hear from four-time PGA Tour winner and adopted son of Delaware County Sean O’Hair at the brunch. O’Hair, the husband of Sun Valley All-Delco Jackie Lucas, is trying to bounce back from a couple of down years on golf’s biggest stage.
   But that didn’t prevent him from imparting some of the wisdom he’s gained from a long and winding golf career, including turning pro at age 17. I’m guessing O’Hair told the J. Wood Platt scholars they were making the right move by attending college in their late teens and early 20s. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Get your tickets for 2015 U.S. Women's Open

   There might never have been a more exciting time in women’s professional golf than right now.
   It is a truly international game now and 2014 was a year in which the U.S. contingent may have finally caught up after a period when the rest of the world, particularly the group from South Korea, had been dominating women’s golf.
   But two of America’s most intriguing young players, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie, became major champions for the first time in 2014 and Stacy Lewis was the LPGA Tour’s Player of the Year. Lewis held the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking for much of 2014 before South Korea’s Inbee Park grabbed it back at the end of the year.
   Wie will defend her U.S. Open title – and I’m sure hearing herself called the defending U.S. Open champion has not gotten old in the least to Wie – at Lancaster Country Club July 6 to 12.
   There is one last ticket offering going on this month for the flexible, multi-entry ticket packages  for the Women’s Open. Pretty sure it’s about this point in the blog post when I’m supposed to say: The perfect gift for the women’s golf fan on your Christmas list. OK, got that out of the way.
   The peple who run the tournament were even offering a Women’s Open hat for the first 200 customers who purchased their tickets on Cyber Monday. Anyway, if you want to check out ticket information, visit www.2015uswomensopen.com/tickets
   Park, who won the first three majors of 2013 and then added to her major haul in 2014 by capturing the Wegmans LPGA Championship, will enter 2015 as the top-ranked player in the world. Behind No. 2 Lewis, is Lydia Ko, the sensational 17-year-old from New Zealand, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, China’s Shanshan Feng, Wie, South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, who possesses a simply elegant swing, Aussie veteran Karrie Webb, South Korea’s Hyo-Joo Kim and rounding out the top 10, Thompson, the athletic American who will turn 20 in February. Pretty international cast right there.
   This is going to be big doings in Lancaster and it’s really not that far away. As someone who has made the Lancaster Pike run to cover the PIAA Championships in York County most of the last 12 years, it’s a scenic drive and there’s some pretty decent outlets just this side of Lancaster proper if want to sneak some shopping in around your golf watching.
   And you just never know who’s going to show up in a U.S. Open field. Radnor’s reigning PIAA champion Brynn Walker made it to the U.S. Girls Junior and the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2014, maybe the Open will be the next logical step. Another former PIAA champion from Delco,  Aurora Kan, the 2010 winner as a senior at Chichester, will likely be a freshly-minted Purdue University graduate contemplating her future. Kan is certainly capable of making it out of a qualifier to the Open field if she chooses to take a shot at it.
   Like I said, these are exciting times in the women’s game and you can see the best female players on the planet only a couple of hours away next summer.
   Once upon a time we had a women’s major professional championship every year a few miles down the road when the LPGA Championship lived at the DuPont Country Club on the Delco side of Wilmington in Delaware for a while. I would highly recommend a trip to see the Women’s Open in Lancaster next summer.