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Published: Monday, 8/13/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

COMMENTARY

Mo can't lose with Lincoln by her side

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE COLUMNIST
Lincoln Martin, 100, greets his granddaughter, Mo, on Saturday. He goes to most tour stops. Lincoln Martin, 100, greets his granddaughter, Mo, on Saturday. He goes to most tour stops.
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So Yeon Ryu torched Highland Meadows for a 9-under-par 62 on Sunday and ran away to a seven-shot victory in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.

Mo Martin, meanwhile, closed with an even-par 71 and finished tied for 21st place.

It would be hard to tell whose fan base was more thrilled with the result. It was no worse than a dead heat.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Jamie Farr Toledo Classic

Martin had a couple handfuls of family and friends on hand at the Meadows, the star being her grandfather, Lincoln Martin.

He got his first name from being born on Lincoln's birthday. No, Abe wasn't president. William Howard Taft was. The year was 1912. For the math impaired, that would make Lincoln Martin an even 100. "And counting," he said with a smile.

He gives no indication he plans to stop counting anytime soon.

"I've got too much to do, and I don't want to miss anything," Martin said.

Front and center on his to-do list is to continue following granddaughter Mo around the LPGA Tour. She is a 29-year-old rookie who just finished her 12th tournament. Her grandfather has been to seven of them.

"And counting," he said again.

If you happened to be at the Meadows at any time during the last four days, Lincoln Martin was the gent in the motorized scooter with the big Stetson, the bigger smile, and the giant "Go Mo" button on his jacket.

"It's an incredible blessing having him out here; I know how lucky I am," Mo said. "I wouldn't trade the time I've had with him or our relationship for anything in the world.

"For him, it's always about what's next. When we had a 100th birthday party for him, he said the first 99 birthdays were rehearsals and that the first 99 years were just practice."

Lincoln Martin came to Toledo from what he called his "little ranch" in Porterville in central California, between Bakersfield and Fresno and hard against the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. An aerial view of his little ranch indicates it's roughly the size of Rhode Island.

It has a landing strip where he used to come and go in his Cessna and the helicopter he learned to fly when in his 80s. When officials refused to renew his pilot license about a decade ago, he bought an ultralight, for which no license is needed. He soloed in that until he was 97.

The centenarian's entire life has been an adventure. Toledo was just his most recent destination. He was a professional musician on cruise ships to pay for his education at the University of California, where he earned a degree in chemistry. Then he earned a master's in aerodynamics at Caltech.

There is a "gadget," to use his word, under the wings of every aircraft in which you've ever flown that stabilizes the plane at low airspeeds. That is rather crucial during descent. If you search hard enough through the U.S. patent office, and we're talking World War II era, you will find Lincoln Martin's name on that little darlin'.

His next career was as a geo-physicist, where he traveled the world looking for oil. He came up with another gadget, a device that uses seismic waves to explore the ground for caches of oil. There's a patent somewhere for that too.

He sold his oil exploration company to grow oranges for Sunkist, and now he's turned parts of his property into a practice green, chipping areas, and a driving range for Mo, who said she "basically lives there as much of the time as possible."

Mo's 5-under-par finish for 72 holes at the Farr, capped by a sweet 7-iron punch shot from under a tree to the 18th green, was worth $13,770. She and her grandfather headed back to the ranch afterwards and will be in Oregon later this week for the Safeway Classic.

Ryu, meanwhile, earned $195,000 for her victory at the Meadows. It's not quite the $585,000 she banked last summer for winning the U.S. Women's Open. But it's not chump change, either.

It might even be enough for a down payment on a "little" ranch.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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