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Decorated amateur Semple Thompson named 2005 PGA First Lady of Golf

Carol Semple Thompson, who has been one of the country's premier amateur players for more than three decades, has been named recipient of the 2005 PGA First Lady of Golf Award.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Carol Semple Thompson, who has been one of the country's premier amateur players for more than three decades, has been named recipient of the 2005 PGA First Lady of Golf Award.

A native of Sewickley, Pa., Thompson will be honored May 25, in a 7 p.m. ceremony at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. The ceremony is in conjunction with 66th Senior PGA Championship week, May 23-29, at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa.

"Carol Semple Thompson's competitive record represents one of the finest success chapters in amateur golf, and has elevated her among the best to have ever played the game," said PGA of America President Roger Warren. "Beyond the boundaries of the golf course, Carol has achieved respect among her peers for her unselfish giving back to others. She has done this by serving both The PGA of America and USGA with leadership and great enthusiasm, and she has been a longtime supporter of charitable organizations within her community . The PGA of America is most pleased to present her with its PGA First Lady of Golf Award."

Thompson, 56, is a veteran of 99 USGA championships, and owns seven national titles that include the 1973 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship and four U.S. Senior Women's Championships and two U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships. Only legendary Bob Jones (nine), JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods (eight) have won more. Thompson also has competed a record 12 times in the Curtis Cup, compiling a record 18 match victories in the most prestigious women's amateur team competition. In 2002, Thompson clinched the U.S. victory by making a 27-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

A 1970 graduate of Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., Thompson was born into one of America's prominent golf families. Her late father, Harton (Bud) Semple, served as USGA president in 1974-75, and her mother, Phyllis, has served on various USGA committees since 1955. At age 16, Carol won her first tournament by defeating her mother in the finals of the Western Pennsylvania Women's Championship. In 1973, Thompson was presented the Women's Amateur trophy by her father.

"I am most honored to be selected for this award, and to be able to say that I have known the previous award winners pretty well," said Thompson. "I have the most respect for The PGA of America. Its members have worked so hard in the world of golf and done so much to keep the game on a higher plane. I have been blessed since I began playing golf to have taken lessons from some great PGA Professionals who have been so instrumental to my career in golf."

Thompson is the second woman to serve on the USGA Executive Committee (1994-2000), following 2001 PGA First Lady of Golf award recipient Judy Bell; and served as a member on The PGA of America's former Advisory Committee.

Thompson is joined by Arnold Palmer, Carner, Nicklaus and Woods as the only players to win three different USGA championships. She also is one of the most well-known women sports performers in Pennsylvania history, having posted 21 state amateur titles. From 1991-92, she served as president of the Pennsylvania State Women's Golf Association. In 1999, she became the first golfer to compete in the U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Women's Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur, U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and State Team Championship in one year.

Thompson also competed in five World Team Amateur Championships, including four victorious U.S. squads (1974, '80, '88, '94). She captured the 1974 British Ladies Open Amateur title while the reigning U.S. Women's Amateur champion. Thompson was low amateur finisher in the 1978, '88 and '94 U.S. Women's Open.

Among her previous career honors include being named winner of the 2003 Bob Jones Award, the USGA's top award given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Thompson was among the first women inducted into Hollins University's Athletic Hall of Fame.

The PGA First Lady of Golf Award, inaugurated in 1998, is presented to a woman who has made significant contributions to the promotion of the game of golf.

PGA First Lady of Golf recipients:
  • 1998 Barbara Nicklaus
  • 1999 Judy Rankin
  • 2000 No recipient
  • 2001 Judy Bell
  • 2002 Nancy Lopez
  • 2003 Renee Powell
  • 2004 Alice Dye
  • 2005 Carol Semple Thompson

Tickets to the 66th Senior PGA Championship are available by calling 1-800-PGA-TCKT (742-4653), or visiting www.seniorPGA2005.com

The PGA of America, founded in 1916, is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. The Association is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women PGA Professionals who are dedicated to growing participation in the game of golf.

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