After each match, Peggy would go back to her motel in the "gas eating" Pontiac that she had driven 620 miles all alone from Shelbyville, Tenn. and type the final drafts of the essays she is preparing for entrance at Vanderbilt University in the fall. In last year's tournament she read A Tale of Two Cities while waiting at the 1st tee. This year she waited with Reischauer's Beyond Vietnam, the subject of one of her essays. "I've got to start learning about politics," Peggy said. "I don't even know who Spiro Agnew is."
Peggy was joined in the semis by Susie Rapp, Janey Fassinger and Kaye Beard, a Kentucky women's champion who is getting bored with everyone asking her if she is related to another Kentuckian, Frank Beard. "I never even met him, but, if we're 11th cousins or something, I'm going to call him for a putting lesson," said Kaye.
When only the four of them were left, they sat around the edge of the green with chins on hands, elbows on knees, all together, the way girls will do, and talked about golf and other things. One thing was beaches, and then school and, after that, their hair and books and horses and, of course, boys, too. And if USGA officials had just been sneaking a look, they would have discovered right then that their next champion was made of more than lollipops and roses.
"Transcalent. I think that means 'transferring heat,' " said Peggy.
"Are you for sure going to be a chemist?" asked Kaye.
"Well, I like chemistry," said Peggy. "You know, being a real girl chemist might be kind of cool. I could stand the qualitative part, I know, but maybe not the quantitative. I don't handle the moles so well, they're so tedious. But the unknowns, they're kind of fun. Yes, maybe I will be a chemist."
"Oh God, smart brain, smart brain," said Kaye. "Well, I'm going to Kentucky and major in phys ed and I'm taking gymnastics. And there are no moles in that, whatever they are."
Two days later, Kaye and Peggy met in the final match where the discrepancies in their educational philosophies were not to extend to their golf. Both girls played superbly, Kentucky Kaye going 2 up after a birdie on the 7th hole. But she bogeyed the next two, and Peggy, implacable as ever after rolling in a 35-foot putt early in the match, tied her at the turn.
It was a mistake to let Peggy back in the door. In her four previous matches she had played the back nine in one under, one under, three under and one under par. Though dropping back again at the 10th, she came on strong, stringing four pars while Kaye bogeyed twice and then hit out of bounds at the 14th.
After she stroked a birdie putt on 15 and closed out the match, 3 and 2, on the following hole, Peggy's card read 15 pars and one birdie. Her face, finally, read happy. Joy bursting past the frowns, she soared her visor through the air and let out a whoop. For a real girl chemist who hadn't smiled all week, it was kind of cool.