Her activities in recent weeks show much of what she is, a combination of unsophisticated child and wary adult. They include 1) having her first haircut by a man, 2) eating her first Chinese meal ("Ugh"), 3) acquiring a copy of American Opinion, the magazine of the John Birch Society, and 4) sailing a boat for the first time. Conservative with money, of necessity, she estimates her eight weeks of tournament play will cost her about $500, including entry fees. She can tell you the student rate by air from Fort Smith, Ark. to Columbus, Ohio, knows the price of an automobile probably better than its owner and has figured out that you can get more laundry done for 25� in one kind of laundromat than you can in another.
But, above all, she has won a major golf tournament, the Trans-Mississippi. The night before she left Florida she worked out a new putting stance with LeCompte. She sets her feet wide apart and chokes down on the putter. The new technique gave her confidence about her putting, something she has not had in five years.
In the final match of the Trans-Mississippi she came up against exactly the kind of personality that she understands least, happy-go-lucky Peggy Conley. Like Roberta, Peggy is 19, but if one is the Tampa Tiger, the other is Pooh Bear. In 1964 Peggy had made the U.S. Curtis Cup team, and last year she had beaten Roberta in the Western Amateur when Roberta missed a two-foot putt.
Roberta takes unnecessary risks on a golf course, as most young players do, and at the end of 27 holes in the Trans-Mississippi she had gambled herself into being three holes down. "I told myself to forget all about Peggy Conley," she says, "to just play the last nine holes in par, and never mind how I got them." She did, shooting seven pars, a birdie and a bogey to win 1 up. She had not played her best golf, by far, but she had come from behind, she had scrambled back after bad shots and she had found out that that is how you win. It is a lesson one can be a long time learning, but if she has really mastered it the Tampa Tiger is on the loose again.