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Fay's financial problems vanished quickly last summer after she won the National Open title at the Wichita Country Club. Her brand of golf is characterized by an earth-pawing, intense bravado which merits her the nickname of El Toro. Her golf swing is not the modern textbook type. El Toro is an old-school stylist, of the caliber which has drawn rare praise from another old-school stylist, Bobby Jones. And too, Fay is an intelligent competitor, a talented shot-maker and the personification of positive thinking's miraculous power.
IMPROVEMENT ISN'T ENOUGH
For Betsy Rawls, leading money winner of 1952 and National Open champion of 1951 and 1953, the last few years have not been la cumbre the summit, as Fay Crocker terms it in her Uruguayan-accented Spanish. Betsy continued winning in '53, '54 and '55, but slid to 10th place in money winnings last year, despite improving her scoring average slightly.
This year, the Texas Phi Beta Kappa appeared to have her problems solved. By mid-April she had won three tournaments and once again sat in a familiar spot among the prize earners. But even then her tendency to wild scrambling was beginning to show through, along with her propensity to put incompatible nines back to back. Rounds of 34-45, 33-41, or 45-33 are not unusual on Betsy's cards.
In late May the swing which has never been completely reliable flew completely apart. She finished out of the money in three out of four consecutive tournaments, the fourth being the money-guaranteed invitational Triangle Round Robin. Her last eight rounds of tournament play have been over 80.
Despite these recent abysmal performances (nine out-of-bounds in the LPGA championship), Betsy is an enthusiastic practicer and possesses a fierce desire to win. How well she will do in future tournaments will depend on the rhythm of her swing, which tends to break down when the money is bigger and the fairways smaller.
Still, there are many professionals who can regard Betsy's golf career with admiration. None of these have matched her record, not even the higher ranking near-stars, like Joyce Ziske, Kathy Cornelius, Betty Dodd, Marilynn Smith and Alice Bauer.
Joyce Ziske, a phlegmatic, pleasant Wisconsin youngster, has improved tremendously this year. Texan Betty Dodd would be a marvelous heiress to the colorful role played by Babe Zaharias. The long-hitting redhead is the tour's Judy Canova, a bright, personable tomboy with a tremendous talent for entertainment and no little talent for golf.
It would please a great many people if Marilynn Smith could win more often. Marilynn projects more personality to galleries, more real warmth, than any other pro. She won twice last year. But Marilynn has ants in her stance. The fidgets and the tournament touch do not complement each other, and the former is extracting a rather high price from Marilynn herself.
Young mothers Alice Bauer and Kathy Cornelius show occasional ability for the competitive game, and bring with them a pleasant amount of house-wifeliness. It must have been very encouraging to many women amateurs when Kathy set an alltime 72-hole tournament record for the LPGA in February, her 287 at St. Petersburg knocking a stroke off the record which had been shared by Berg, Suggs and Zaharias.