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'Young girls' heighten competition on LPGA Legends Tour

Michele Redman, right, at 45 still plays on the LPGA Tour.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Michele Redman, right, at 45 still plays on the LPGA Tour.

PALM HARBOR — Veterans of the Legends Tour will tell you they are always excited to get new blood on the circuit. But they also know younger players mean more competition.

"I'm on the board of directors, and I'm going to make a suggestion that we move the (minimum tour) age from 45 to 50,'' Jan Stephenson cracked before the tournament. "These young girls are good. They can still play on the LPGA Tour.''

Stephenson is talking about players such as Michele Redman, 45, who still plays on the LPGA Tour and is in the Legends field this weekend. She was second place after Saturday's opening-round 69.

Redman said she has been getting ribbing from the veterans.

"They're calling me the rookie,'' Redman said. "They're asking me for ID. But I do have reading glasses, so that is one qualification.''

Playing with the captain: Redman has played in four Solheim Cups, and she wouldn't mind adding one more to her resume. She'll get a chance to impress Solheim Cup captain Rosie Jones today. They are paired together in the final group.

"But knowing Rosie, she is only worried about winning the tournament,'' Redman said.

Said Jones, the leader heading into the final round at 5-under 67: "(Redman is) just another number out there that I'm trying to beat. I'm sure she's thinking the same way about me. One thing you learn early on the LPGA is that you don't hold back. You don't take any prisoners. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you.''

Bad sign: Shelley Hamlin said she was playing some of her worst golf in a while before this tournament. And things weren't much better on the driving range before the first round. Hamlin said she hit the ball all over the place and expected a much higher score than her par 72.

"It was one of those days on the range where I was almost late for my tee time,'' Hamlin, 61, said. "When I finally did get to the tee and they were about to announce me, the buzzards were already flying over my head. Really. There were buzzards flying. So with all of that, I think I did great."

Practicing at work: Alicia Dibos shot 72 and was five shots off the lead. Dibos is director of instruction at Winged Foot in New York, and when she's not giving lessons, she said, she is usually playing with members. That competition got her ready for this event. "I've been able to stay sharp by playing with the members,'' Dibos said. "I'm very happy with where I am.''

Super senior pairing: LPGA hall of famers Pat Bradley and JoAnne Carner were paired together. Both showed they can still play. Carner, 72, shot 2-over 74 and was tied for 11th. Bradley, 59, shot 6-over 78.

'Young girls' heighten competition on LPGA Legends Tour 11/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 8:46pm]
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