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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2008

Robinson dominates Hopple in Toledo women's match play

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Sally Robinson chips on to the 14th green during her match play win over Pat Hopple at Heather Downs Country Club. Sally Robinson chips on to the 14th green during her match play win over Pat Hopple at Heather Downs Country Club.
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Sally Robinson can still recall the uneasiness she felt while winning her first Toledo Women's District Golf Association Match Play championship in 1988.

But details of her subsequent titles are beginning to run together.

On the 20th anniversary of her initial TWDGA championship, Robinson claimed No. 8 yesterday morning in a 5-and-3 victory at Heather Downs Country Club. Robinson, 49, defeated Pat Hopple in a repeat final from the previous two years.

"The first one is awfully special because I had never done it before, but it's very satisfying to still be playing at a high level," Robinson said.

Robinson topped Hopple in 2006 before Hopple evened the score last year on her home course at Sylvania Country Club.

The outcome of the rubber match was never in doubt after Robinson took a four-hole advantage after five. Match play ends when a lead is insurmountable.

"I love the fact that I have been able to win a few tournaments in my career," Robinson said. "I keep trying to add to that."

In the consolation finals of the 16-person bracket, Diane Rich outlasted Jeanne Moon 4-and-2. Mary Cowan and Donna Cantello won the "A" and "B" flights, respectively, on Thursday.

Robinson had six birdies, including on hole 15 when Hopple conceded the point - and essentially the match - after she hit into the water on her third shot. Robinson was already on the green in two.

"When you're putting well it overcomes any mistakes you make because you feel like you can make everything," said Robinson, a teacher at Byrnedale Middle School. "That's why I went a little long on a few of those on the backside."

Hopple, meanwhile, struggled to beat Robinson to the green. Hopple said it took her best effort last year to defeat Robinson, and yesterday, she simply didn't have enough.

"Sally is a strong player," Hopple said. "She's been doing this for a while. She's hard to beat. I got myself into a hole that I couldn't get out of."

Robinson is a member at Chippewa Golf Course in Curtis, but she lives just five minutes from Heather Downs and plays here often, which probably gave her an edge yesterday.

Pat Hopple lost to Sally Robinson in 2006, then beat her last year. She lost yesterday 5-and-3 in the rematch for the rivals. Pat Hopple lost to Sally Robinson in 2006, then beat her last year. She lost yesterday 5-and-3 in the rematch for the rivals.
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Whichever course Robinson happens to be using on a given day, she is almost certain to be found joking with her playing partners, breaking only when someone is preparing to strike a ball. Robinson's eccentric personality may not mesh with the serenity of a golf course, but she's certainly earned the right to behave in such a manner.

"I don't know if I know any other way to play," she said. "A lot of people get really serious. I can be serious - maybe when I'm sleeping. You're out there for so long you can't really focus 100 percent for the whole four or five hours. I do have a tendency to talk and laugh too much."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com.



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