A Sprint To The Finish
Her victory was fast and big.
And it emphasized how dominant
Diane Lang has become.
2008 Championship Annual: The Year In Review
By Craig Smith
|Diane Lang raised her match-play record in four USGA Senior Women's Amateur championship appearances to an impressive 22-1. (John Mummert/USGA)|
Diane Lang is doing her part to show that Jamaica is not just a tiny Caribbean country known for fast runners. Although, when it comes to winning USGA Senior Women's Amateur titles, the 53-year-old has been leaving her competition in the dust the way countryman Usain Bolt dominated the recent Olympic Games. Lang's 6-and-5 triumph over Toni Wiesner, 61, of Fort Worth, Texas, at Tulsa (Okla.) Country Club in late September gave the Kingston native her third title in the last four years.
Now a resident of Weston, Fla., Lang also became the sixth woman to have won this national championship for 50-plus golfers three or more times, and raised her match-play record in four appearances to an impressive 22-1. Only 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Carol Semple Thompson (24-0) has a better record in the first four years playing this event.
"I'm really, really happy," said Lang, after holing a 16-foot putt for par on the 13th hole to close the match. "This is my most special one. This makes all the hard work worthwhile. I put in a lot of sweat and tears over the last year to get my name on that trophy again. For a little girl from Jamaica, that ain't half bad."
When she was growing up in Jamaica, only two golf courses existed. Lang's father, a former Davis Cup tennis player, taught his daughter the game at the age of 13 through reading instructional books.
Perseverance and the desire to succeed led Lang to be the first Jamaican ever to play on the LPGA Tour and later to national prominence in senior women's golf. And she's no stranger to long odds. She came to Florida at the age of 20 to attend Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and earned a scholarship to play on the start-up women's college team. In 1984, she earned her LPGA Tour card. A year later, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey, and was in second place after the first round (she would eventually tie for 61st).
Lang spent a few more years chasing her professional dreams before putting competitive golf away for 16 years to raise a family. But she couldn't stay away forever. She got her amateur status back in 1989 and has since rediscovered her passion for the game.
"Three firsts in four years," said Lang. "I think that's pretty good." This article first appeared in the 2008 Championship Annual, a special publication mailed to USGA Members in November.