Coble, ex-teammate square off

OCALA, Fla. --- Augusta's Laura Coble goes for her second U.S. Golf Association title in just over a month's time today.


Coble, who was a member of the winning three-player Georgia team in the USGA's Women's State Team Championship on Sept. 3, is in the final of the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur this morning.

The 45-year-old Coble, who was also on the winning 2005 Georgia team, has never won a USGA individual event.

In the final, Coble will take on an old friend in 47-year-old Martha Leach, of Hebron, Ky.

Leach, who is the younger sister of former LPGA Tour star Hollis Stacy, was a senior on the University of Georgia golf team when Coble was a freshman.

To get to the final, Coble defeated two-time champion Meghan Stasi, of Oakland Park, Fla., 5 and 4, in the semifinal. Leach edged 1998 champion Virginia Derby Grimes, of Meridian, Miss., 1 up.

In her semifinal match, Coble led after the first hole and was 6-up at the 13th tee, closing out the match with a par-3 on the 14th.

"It's a surprising thing, but it's a wonderful thing," said Coble, whose 10-year run as the Georgia State Golf Association's top female player ended after the 2007 season. "Everything else is gravy."

In Wednesday morning's quarterfinals, Coble defeated Christy Schultz, of Rochester, N.Y., 3 and 1.

"I'm pretty tired for an old girl," Coble said after the semifinal win. "This is a marathon, not a sprint."

Today's scheduled 18-hole final begins at 9 a.m. at Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club.


KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. --- Walker Cup player Nathan Smith advanced to the U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinals Wednesday, winning two matches at The Kiawah Island Club.

Smith, the 2003 winner from Pittsburgh who shared medalist honors in the tournament for players 25 and older, beat Canada's Dave Bunker 4 and 3 in the third round and Chris Marin of Monterey, Calif., 1-up in the quarterfinals.

The 31-year-old investment adviser will face Robert Gerwin, of Cincinnati, in the semifinals. Gerwin beat defending champion Steve Wilson, of Ocean Springs, Miss., 2-up, in the quarterfinals.

In the other semifinal, Patrick Carter, of Huntington, W.Va., will face Tim Spitz of Rochester, N.Y.

-- Associated Press



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