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Aug. 29, 2016

Allison Long is set to make her Senior USGA debut.

Honeybrook’s Long secures #USSrWomensAm Qual. medal

  BLUE BELL, Pa. — After returning to a consistent golf schedule four years ago from motherly duties, Allison Long didn’t have to wait long to get back into the competitive fold.

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  The four-time reigning women’s club champion at Honeybrook Golf Club carded an 8-over-par 80 to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier Monday at Cedarbrook Country Club (par 72, 5,854 yards). She topped an 11-player field.

  Along with Long, both Angie Whitley Coleman (9-over 81) of New Castle, Del., and Allyson Harrison (10-over 82) of Kingston, Ontario punched tickets to the Championship proper, which will take place Sept. 17-22 at Wellesley Country Club in Wellesley, Mass.

  “I wasn’t a member at any clubs for many years while my kids were growing up. I didn’t play a lot of golf at all,” said Long, of Coatsville, Pa. “It’s great now that they are older that I can start to play again.”

  If Monday’s impressive showing is any indication, the game has been kind to Long since her anticipated return. The day’s low round was boosted by nine pars and limited high numbers on her card.

  Long’s highlight of the round arrived in result of a memorable birdie on the par-5, 449-yard 12th . After a steady drive and first approach shot, Long pulled her 7-iron with confidence. Her second approach landed to a comfy five feet, leading to that crucial red number.

  “I played better on my front (39) than the back (41). Today, I hit my driver decently off the tee and kept the ball straight for the most part. I’d say I’m usually straight with my shots, which keeps me out of trouble for the most part,” said Long, who was a semifinalist in this year’s Pennsylvania State Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

  In last year's rendition at Hillwood Country Club in Nashville, Tenn., Long made her debut in a Senior USGA event. She’s no stranger to the big stage, however, having competed in seven U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships – a now defunct national championship.

  “When I was younger, throughout my 30s, I had a lot of experience in those tournaments. I was fortunate to have played in a bunch of them,” said the 56-year-old.

  One shot back of Long was Whitley Coleman, who was propelled by back-to-back birdies on Nos. 2 (par 5, 474 yards) and 3 (par 4, 344 yards).

  The 52-year-old is still learning the game of golf, having only been playing for a little more than 10 years. So far, so good.

  “I’m learning golf, and how to compete at the same time,” said Whitley Coleman, who served as a second alternate last year. “And playing golf and competing are two completely different things.”

  Whitley Coleman also recently qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. That national championship will be played at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa. a week earlier (Sept. 10-15) than the Senior Women’s Amateur.

  “This one, I think, is harder to qualify for. The Senior ladies tend to be not as long hitters, but they are great putters. And putting is the game,” she said. “Being an immature player, I definitely have to catch up on that putting green. It takes time.”

  Rounding out the qualifying group was Canada’s Harrison.

  “I thought I played really well, besides the times I put my ball into the rough which ended up as penalty shots,” said Harrison, a psychologist who works with college students. “Obviously there were a few shots that could have been better out there, but in the end, it worked out so I’m thrilled.”

  This will be Harrison’s first USGA championship appearance. Despite facing an eight-hour drive back home, it was easy to see Harrison’s post-round excitement once the invitation was extended her way.

  “You have no idea how happy I am right now,” said an ecstatic Harrison. “I am unbelievably excited.”

  Francis Gacos of Flemington, N.J. grabbed the day’s first alternate spot, while Mercedes Large of Bloomfield, Conn., claimed the second-alternate position.

  Today marked the first occasion in which the Golf Association of Philadelphia administered a U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Qualifier.

   Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 151 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers

Name, club

Score

Allison Long, Coatesville, Pa.

80

Angie Whitley Coleman, New Castle, Del.

81

Allyson Harrison, Kingston, Ontario

82

 

Alternates (in order)

Frances Gacos, Flemington, N.J.

84

Mercedese Large, Bloomfield, Conn.

85

 

Failed to qualify

Marian Bennis, Oyster Bay, N.Y.

87

Elizabeth Haines, Gladwyne, Pa.

88

Joyce Curran, Danbury, Conn.

88

Virginia Brown, South Orange, N.J.

89

Karen Siegel, Maple Glen, Pa.

92

Colleen Edelman, Ho Ho Kus, N.J.

102

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