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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2005

TWDGA opens play, but its star pupil will be in school

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Sally Robinson will have to defend both her TWDGA medal play and match play championships this summer. Sally Robinson will have to defend both her TWDGA medal play and match play championships this summer.
SIMMONS / BLADE Enlarge

The Toledo Women's District Golf Association opens its season Friday with a best-ball event at Tecumseh (Mich.) Country Club, but don't expect Sally Robinson to be in the field. She hasn't been paroled yet.

Robinson is a health and physical education teacher at Byrnedale Junior High and, as she put it, "With good behavior, I'll get out in a few weeks."

Robinson rarely plays competitive golf until the school year ends, but is able to get her game in shape rather quickly, as is evidenced by her 13 TWDGA major championship trophies.

Starting with the district match play title in 1988, Robinson has captured seven medal play championships and six match play crowns.

This summer, she will be the defending champion in both events, having swept the majors a year ago for the second time in her career.

"I've hit balls a few times after school, but it's kind of hard," she said. "Junior high children have an abundance of energy and at the end of the day I usually do not. So I pretty much play a three-month season.

"Fortunately, I can get my game to be competitive pretty quickly. I guess it goes back to high school when I'd switch from sport to sport - volleyball to basketball to softball, and then golf, tennis and swimming in the summer - without too much trouble. I'm not saying my game would be sharp, but I could probably walk out there cold and shoot 85."

By mid-July, though, when the weather and her game have both heated up nicely and the first of the district majors rolls around, Robinson will have her power tee game in shape.

"I never imagined I would get as good as I did," said Robinson, who played college golf at Bowling Green and graduated in 1982. "But when I joined the TWDGA, the competition forced me to be better. My game came around and it's sort of stayed around for awhile."

ROCKETS DEFEND: The University of Toledo men's golf team will open defense of its Mid-American Conference title tomorrow at the Medallion Club in Westerville, Ohio. UT will be bidding for its third MAC championship in four years, but should face stiff opposition from teams representing Kent and Ball State.

Senior Justin Bertsch, who finished fifth overall in last year's league tournament at even-par 216, leads the Rockets with a 75.0 stroke average this spring.

The tourney is a 72-hole event, starting with 36 holes tomorrow and 18-hole rounds on Friday and Saturday.

SOME STREAK: Most golf fans are aware that Annika Sorenstam, fresh from a five-week hiatus, will go for an LPGA-record sixth consecutive win this weekend in the Michelob Ultra Open in Williamsburg, Va. Her most recent win, an eight-shot victory in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, tied the record of five straight set by Nancy Lopez in 1978.

Sorenstam has another streak on the line, as well. She has compiled 43 straight rounds at par or better. The last time she failed to break par was June 27 of last year when she shot a 1-over 73 at the Wegman's Rochester LPGA Classic.

No word yet on whether Sorenstam will be competing in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at Highland Meadows.

PGA SPECIAL: May is the PGA of America's free lesson month with more than 6,700 member pros nationwide providing 10-minute sessions at no cost. To locate the facilities and pros taking part in your area, go to www.playgolfamerica.com, enter your zip code, click on "Free Lesson Month," and you will be provided with a list of pros you can contact for a free lesson.

ENTRY DEADLINE: Those age 50 and older interested in playing in the Ohio Senior Open at Firestone CC in Akron should visit www.northernohiopga.com for an application that is due by May 25. The field is open to senior pros and amateurs with a handicap index of 8.0 or less. There is an entry fee and the field will be limited to the first 144 entries.

CHIP SHOTS: Inverness Club is ranked No. 41 on Golf Digest's list of 100 greatest courses in the United States. Inverness is second among the eight Ohio courses on the list, trailing only No. 18 Muirfield Village in Dublin. .●.●. After winning the FedEx Kinko's Classic on the Champions Tour last weekend, Jim Thorpe announced that his entire first-place check of $247,500 would be donated to Crossings Community Church near Orlando, which he and his family attend. .●.●. As of April 1, the 18-hole greens fee at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California increased to $425 per round.

Contact Dave Hackenberg at:

dhack@theblade.com

or 419-724-6398



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