2002: Will Whaley go to GHO?

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Suzy Whaley has a tough decision in the coming months: Does she play in the PGA Tour’s Greater Hartford Open next year?

Whaley, head professional at Blue Fox Run Golf Course in Avon, Conn., won the Connecticut PGA Section Championship Sept. 17 to earn an exemption into the GHO. She would be the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event.

“Everybody today has said, ‘How could you possibly not play? Of course you have to play, from a woman’s standpoint,’ ” Whaley said Sept. 18. “If I do play, it’s hard to be competitive from 7,000-and-change yards. What would I shoot from there? Would that be OK for women’s golf?”

Whaley, 35, shot 5-under 211 with rounds of 68-72-71 over the Ellington Ridge Country Club in Hartford. She is the first woman to win a PGA of America Section Championship.

Whaley played from tees that made the course about 10 percent shorter than the men played. If she competes in the Greater Hartford Open, she’ll play from the championship tees.

Whaley has until a week before the tournament to decide, but she said she wouldn’t wait that long so another player would have the chance to take her spot if she doesn’t play.

The golf world is taking notice.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Tiger Woods said. “She beat everybody in the field.”

Whaley, who won the LPGA’s Teaching and Club Professional Championship last month, also was the only woman to qualify for the PGA Club Professional Championship in June in Louisville, Ky., but she missed the cut.

– Staff and wire reports

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