Casey teen gets experience, but Combs gets prize

June 11, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

Kelli Warner got more out of the Tee Cup Invitational than she probably could have hoped for. But Anne Combs got the trophy.

It had been more than two decades since she last won this tournament, but Combs wasn't ready to yield to the next generation.

Combs, who won six of the first 10 Tee Cup titles but hadn't won since 1985, returned to the top of the leaderboard by a shooting 2-under-par 71 in the final round Thursday at Danville Country Club.

The Lexington resident finished the 36-hole tourney at 145, which was 1 under par and two strokes ahead of Warner and Joan Rizer.


"I'm thrilled," Combs said.

She birdied two of the first three holes to move into the lead, then played consistently well for most of the remaining 15 holes.

"I was just trying to play one hole at a time," she said. "It's very boring. I drove the ball well and I putted well."

Warner was happy, too, even though the Liberty teen-ager settled for a second-place tie after holding the first-round lead.

"I'm lucky to have the score that I did," she said. "I was all over the golf course, but I was able to get up and down a lot."

Warner will be a freshman at EKU

Warner, who will be a freshman on the Eastern Kentucky University team this fall, was also pleased that she got to play in the final foursome with three of the top amateur players in Kentucky - Combs, Rizer and Cynthia Powell.

But she said that wasn't how she felt on her way to the first tee. Her three playing partners have combined to win 20 of the 29 Tee Cup titles, and Combs and Powell claimed eight of them before Warner was born.

"It kind of intimidated me, playing with three of the best ladies in the state," she said. "I didn't know what to expect.

"But they treated me as more of an adult than a kid."

Combs said the three veteran players in the group wanted Warner to feel relaxed among them.

"We tried very hard to put her at ease," Combs said. "We've all played together a long time, and we want everyone to play nice golf, and that's what we got to see today."

Warner's coach at Eastern, Jonie Stephens, who was also playing in the tournament, said it did Warner a world of good to play in the final group.

"She was very composed, and she held her own," Stephens said. "This might really help her confidence."

Warner said the experience will definitely help her game.

"I learned a lot just about character and the mental game," Warner said. "You don't have to be so serious about golf. It's a fun game.

"I had a really good time. I'm really glad I got that pairing after all."

Combs went out in 33

She got to see Combs shoot 33 on the front nine after birdies on the second, third and eighth holes. Combs bogeyed the 12th hole, took double-bogey on the 14th thanks to a three-putt, and bogeyed the 16th, but she also had a birdie on No. 13, and she essentially clinched the victory with an eagle on the par-5 17th.

"Outside of one hole, I'm very well pleased," Combs said.

"Anne can do anything," Warner said. "When she does miss, it's not really a miss."

Combs, who won the Marion Miley Invitational last year, didn't realize it had been nearly two decades since her last title.

"That's a testament to this tournament and the field they have," she said. "People adore coming over here."

Warner bogeyed her first hole but had birdies on the third and seventh to make the turn in 35. However, she had two bogeys and no birdies on the back nine.

She said she'd love to play this tournament often in coming years.

"These are really nice events," Warner said. "I like this better than a lot of the tournaments I've been to."

Rizer, of Bardstown, shot a final-round 73 that included two birdies.

Championship Flight

Anne Combs 74-71-145

Joan Rizer 74-73-147

Kelli Warner 73-74-147

Kim Hartlage 75-74-149

Beth Curlin 76-74-150

Laurie Goodlett 78-74-152

Brittany Klein 75-77-152

Sami Montgomery-Claywell 75-77-152

Cynthia Powell 74-79-153

Pat Fox 80-75-155

Jessica Cornelius 79-77-156

Margaret Hodges 81-81-162

Sandra Martin 84-79-163

Jonie Stephens 79-84-163

Judy Jackson 80-85-165

Louise Hopper 83-84-167

First Flight

Hilda Hodges 82-80-162

Erika Price 82-81-163

Barbara Hanna 86-80-166

Second Flight

Judy Huffman 84-88-172

Sara Jane Montgomery 86-86-172

Linda Neikirk 87-86-173

Third Flight

Joyce Bierman 91-88-179

Margie Sebastian 92-87-179

Shirley Cox 89-97-186

Jonelle Moe 91-95-186

Rachael Zvolensky 95-91-186

Fourth Flight

Christy Moore 97-93-190

Jan Hurt 94-89-193

Lou Brown 99-98-197

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