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Published: Friday, 7/11/2008

Golf is Blackwelder family passion

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Mallory Blackwelder, 21, a University of Kentucky student, is
congratulated by her father, Worth, who is also her caddie.
Mallory Blackwelder, 21, a University of Kentucky student, is congratulated by her father, Worth, who is also her caddie.
Enlarge

In 1997, Myra Blackwelder played in her final Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic and her son, Myles, then 12, was her caddie.

Yesterday, Myra watched as her daughter, Mallory, competed in the Farr Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. Worth Blackwelder, Myra's husband and Mallory's father, caddied for his daughter.

"My whole family has gotten to be in this," Myra said. "It's pretty cool."

Mallory, the only amateur in the field, qualified for the tournament on Monday at Sylvania Country Club. Her mother is a veteran of eight Farrs and is now the head women's golf coach at the University of Kentucky.

A senior-to-be at UK, Mallory was her mother's top player last year. She transferred from the University of Florida.

"We get along really well," Myra said. "We have a great relationship." Myra was the LPGA Tour rookie of the year in 1980 and finished fifth in the 1988 Farr Classic. Mallory learned the technical aspects of the game from her mother and her course management from her father. She played in her first tournament at age 11.

Earlier this year Myra and Mallory became what is believed to be the first mother-daughter pair to play in an LPGA major. Mallory was invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship on the basis of winning the women's Western Amateur and high finishes in other amateur tournaments.

"That came as a total shock to her," Myra said. "She was so excited. She went out and really played pretty well. She held her own pretty well."

Mallory shot a 71 in the first round at the Kraft Nabisco. Worth Blackwelder wasn't able to caddie for his daughter at Mission Hills Country Club in southern California that week because his day job, caddying for Juli Inkster, came first.

Myra Blackwelder Myra Blackwelder
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"It was different," said Mallory, 21. "He was able to watch a couple holes after he was done. That was kind of funny."

Worth Blackwelder has caddied several times for his daughter before this week, though, and he shared some of his own history.

"I'm the first caddie in the history of the LPGA to caddie for two generations of the same family," Worth said.

In between phone calls to book a flight for Mallory's trip to the U.S. Amateur in Oregon next month, Myra walked outside the ropes beside her daughter's round yesterday.

When Mallory birdied hole No. 1 Myra shouted out, "Nice birdie, Mal."

Mallory was 3-over par through 15 holes yesterday when play was stopped because of lightning.

She was one of about 20 golfers still on the course at the time, so she and her family relaxed outside the clubhouse and watched the rain.

"I was a little nervous today for some reason," Mallory said. "I'm starting to feel more comfortable.

"I think I am putting more pressure on myself actually here because I have a little bit more experience and it's not such a strong field [as the Kraft Nabisco]. But I don't need to be putting any pressure on myself, I'm not a pro yet."

With the tradition the Blackwelder family has established, the key word is yet.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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