Lady Jags' coach wins ninth player award

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ATLANTA - Augusta's Laura Coble received her ninth consecutive Women's Player of the Year award Saturday at the Georgia State Golf Association's annual awards luncheon at Cherokee Town Club.

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Retief Goosen shares the lead with Richard Green and Nick O'Hern after the third round of the Qatar Masters.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Retief Goosen shares the lead with Richard Green and Nick O'Hern after the third round of the Qatar Masters.

Coble, who is the head women's golf coach at Augusta State, posted strong finishes in several state events, including a fourth-place showing at the Greater Atlanta Women's Amateur Championship, runner-up honors at the Georgia Women's Amateur Championship and a top-five finish at the Georgia Women's Open.

She clinched the player of the year honor after advancing to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship for the second year in a row. She was Georgia's top finisher at the 2006 event held at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

Also at the awards ceremony, Dave Womack of McDonough received the Tommy Barnes Award, signifying him as the overall player of the year in Georgia.

Womack, 28, enjoyed a breakout year in 2006, and won the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz. His victory earned him an invitation to compete in this year's Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

QATAR MASTERS: In Doha, Qatar, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen had three late birdies to share the third-round lead with Richard Green and Nick O'Hern.

Goosen bogeyed three holes after the eighth but then had birdies at Nos. 15-17 to shoot 1-under 71 for 12-under 204. Green also shot 71 and O'Hern had 69.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson (70) and Edward Michaels (69) were two shots back and tied for second. Michaels had an eagle on the par-4 16th hole. Paul Lawrie (71), Soren Kjeldsen (66) and Peter O'Malley (67) were tied for third, 9-under 207.

NATIONWIDE PANAMA CHAMPIONSHIP: In Panama City, Panama, Marc Turnesa shot 5-under-par 65 to vault from a tie for 16th into first place and a shot lead in the Nationwide Tour's season-opening event.

Patrick Sheehan shot 2 over and sits in second place entering today's final round.

Former Augusta State player Richard Johnson is only four back of Turnesa after shooting 66, which included six birdies and two bogeys. Former Thomson resident Franklin Langham shot his second consecutive 74 and is currently tied for 57th place.

TURTLE BAY CHAMPIONSHIP: In Kahuku, Hawaii, Fred Funk handled the tradewinds and tricky greens with ease, shooting a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 on Friday to take the first-round lead.

Tom Kite was two strokes back along with David Eger, John Harris, Kiyoshi Murota and Tom McKnight in the Champions Tour's first full-field event of the year.

Hale Irwin, the MasterCard winner going for an unprecedented seventh victory in the event, labored for his 2-over 74.

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