2005: Newsmakers - Amateur milestone
A young, naive Carol Semple stepped on the first tee of the 1963 U.S. Girls’ Junior and wasn’t sure she would get the first ball airborne. It was there at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club in Albany, N.Y., where a 13-year-old Semple played in her first U.S. Golf Association championship. Carol Semple Thompson, now 56, failed to advance to stroke play last week at the 105th U.S. Women’s Amateur but the accomplishment was still significant because she was playing in her 100th USGA event.
“I tried not to let it be a big deal,” Thompson said Aug. 2. “I think it’s amazing that I’ve played in 100 but it is just a number. I’m much more interested in winning than playing in my 101st.”
A humble Thompson was honored at a pre-tournament players’ dinner where she was given a scroll that documented all 100 USGA events. The ceremony included video clips from family members, colleagues, USGA officials, members of the media and fellow competitors, including Arnold Palmer. There were three standing ovations.
To put the achievement into perspective, Anne Sander played in 92 USGA events and next is Barbara McIntire with 62.
William Campbell and Chick Evans top the men’s side with 69 each. Jack Nicklaus has played in 67 and Arnold Palmer in 62.
Thompson’s record doesn’t include 12 Curtis Cup Matches, five Women’s World Amateur Team Championships and five Women’s State Team Championships, which would push her total to 122.
Thompson has played in four Girls’ Juniors, 40 Women’s Amateurs, 32 Women’s Opens, 18 Mid-Amateurs and six Senior Women’s Amateurs. During the streak, Thompson has won seven championships – the 1973 Amateur, the 1990 and 1997 Mid-Amateurs and the Senior Amateur in 1999-2002. Thompson tied for ninth at the 1972 Women’s Open.