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"I don't know why I always get down," she said in one of her daily bouts of self-analysis for the benefit of the inquiring press. "I would much rather not battle back from behind."
Carol spent the winter at La Romana, a resort in the Dominican Republic with a course designed by golf architect Pete Dye. She had been hired to organize recreation programs, but when it was discovered she had a real estate license and some experience near her home in Sewickley, Pa., she was put to work selling condominiums. She also took up polo. Heather Semple, 14, who followed her sister Carol every step of the way at Broadmoor, said, "We all hunt, and polo was a sort of cross between riding and golf. She's really good at it, too."
Early this summer Semple won the British Amateur, the first American golfer to take the title in 10 years. The victory gave her two national championships in one calendar year, but since then she has not played well in the big tournaments: the Broadmoor ( Colo.) Invitational, the Western Women's Amateur and the Trans-National. "Things are just back to normal," she said. "I still can't believe I won the British. I played spectacularly."
The morning of the final round was foggy and cool and the dew was heavy for the first time, making the course play somewhat longer and complicating club selection. But none of this was enough to explain the way Hill and Semple played the morning 18 of the 36-hole final. They went at it as if the object were to come out high scorer. After nine holes Semple was seven over par and two down. Through 18 she had shot an 84 to Hill's 79 and was three down. The pair had totaled one birdie, 18 bogeys and a double-bogey.
Something settled them down during the lunch break—maybe food, quite possibly embarrassment. Hill immediately extended her lead to four, and at the 23rd and 26th she added two more, but this time she was winning her holes with birdies and halving them with pars. Semple, who was six down and probably would have been counted out had it not been for her come-from-behind wins earlier, finally got one back at the 27th when she sank a 10-footer for a birdie to Hill's par. In the course of nine holes, the 19th through the 27th, Semple had been in position to win holes three times and each time Hill had topped her effort with an even bigger one.
The gallery of 1,500 people, plodding through the still wet grass, was rooting for Semple to pull off a miracle but whistling softly in awe of Hill's play. Semple held on, though dormie, at the 31st hole with a 25-foot birdie putt, but the lopsided battle ended on the 32nd, the par-3 14th, when she left herself a 50-foot putt. She managed to get the ball down in two for par, but when Hill did, too, the match was over.
Cindy Hill, who had lost in the finals in 1970 and 1972, was a winner at last. She had played two-under-par golf in the afternoon round and Semple had improved to even par, so no one had to feel embarrassed, except possibly Hill's young caddie, Dave Shuler, who blushed through his freckles when the winner kissed him on the cheek but looked pleased all the same.