By Lisa Antonucci
Women of all sizes and ages, and from all over the world, set new amateur golf standards in 2001.
Meredith Duncan is 5 feet 2, but she was an imposing brick wall to her summertime foes. The Louisiana State senior undoubtedly was the 2001 amateur queen, capturing the Golfweek/Titleist No. 1 ranking and three national crowns including the 101st U.S. Women’s Amateur Aug. 4 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.
Before heading to Andover, however, Duncan had a few important stops to make. She successfully defended her Women’s Western title in June against Candie Kung (1 up), then she hit Pinehurst No. 2 and took home her very own “Putter Boy” trophy after defeating Mimi Epps, 6 and 5, at the North and South Amateur.
The Women’s Amateur was a tougher test for Duncan, 21, who went 37 holes with Nicole Perrot of Santiago, Chile, before claiming victory. Perrot, 17, had her own summer to remember. In a three-week span, she finished second at the Junior World Championship in San Diego, won the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship at Mission Hills, Kan., and, after only one day of rest, began her march to the Women’s Amateur finals.
For a record-breaking third year in a row, Carol Semple Thompson, 52, won the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. She defeated Anne Carr, 1 up, in the 18-hole championship match Sept. 13. Only Carolyn Cudone has won the title more (1968-72).
Thompson’s victory came at her home course: Allegheny Country Club in Sewickley, Pa. It also was the site of Thompson’s first of two Women’s Mid-Amateur victories back in 1990. With six USGA titles to her name, Semple Thompson is poised to add to her impressive amateur career. Next on her list: making her 12th U.S. Curtis Cup team and matching Bobby Jones’ record of nine USGA championships.
In capturing her first USGA title, Laura Shanahan defeated Mina Hardin, 4 and 3, in the 2001 Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion-ship finals Oct. 11 at Fox Run Golf Club in Eureka, Mo. She defeated several formidable opponents, including defending champion Ellen Port, Taffy Brower and Sherry Herman. The victory was even more impressive because, being from New Hampshire, Shanahan’s golf season is limited by weather.
“I’m absolutely amazed I accomplished it,” said Shanahan, 42. “I knew I would go far, I wasn’t sure just how far.”