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Here is a puffy little gnome of a woman who trudges the fairway looking more like a resolute middle-aged housewife on her way to a YWCA calisthenics class than she does a remarkable athlete. But when Patty Berg grasps a golf club, the butterfly emerges from the cocoon. The greatest shots in women's golf have come off the faces of Patty Berg's clubs.
She has won more tournaments than any other woman professional. She holds the alltime 18-hole competitive record in women's tournaments—a 64—and shares the LPGA 54-hole record with Betty Jameson at 210.
Patty appears to have mastered the difficult essential of keying herself up for every tournament. She plays each shot as though it were the one by which she will be remembered.
"When Patty misses a shot," commented one of the pros, "you'd think the world had come to an end."
Patty's world was not even threatened in 1955. She was leading money winner, low scorer, winner of the Serbin Trophy (Competitor of the Year), and was elected outstanding woman athlete of the year by Associated Press.
Comparatively, this year has not gone so well for her. Her place has been taken by a pro who once would have been voted most unlikely to succeed.
The emergence of Marlene Bauer Hagge from a prolonged golf adolescence into the role of leading tournament winner and money earner for 1956 has left most of the game's prognosticators groping for answers. Marlene, as just about anyone outside the Bauer household would have told you a year ago, just didn't have it. She obviously reached her peak at 13, and that was nine years ago.
From the April day in 1950 when she ceased being a child wonder and stepped into the more realistic and demanding world of professional golf, Marlene only occasionally made Pro Dave Bauer happy with his daughter's performance. In decided contrast with her sister Alice, an effervescent pixie with an apparent zest for the game, Marlene played most of the time with the resigned disinterest of a youngster doing domestic chores. She confided to her friends that she would like to be a ballet dancer or an artist or anything but a golf professional.
This year the job has suddenly become enjoyable. Yet Marlene exhibits no drastic outward changes in her physical game. Her recent fabulous putting streak startled no one, for the Bauers have long been the game's greatest around the greens.