Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:30 am | Updated: 6:49 am, Tue May 31, 2011.
By MICHAEL McGARRY, Press of AC Staff Writer (link to article)
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ – Jean Bartholomew couldn’t be blamed if she thought that she taught amateur Kelly Shon a little too well on Monday.
Bartholomew, a 15-year LPGA veteran, edged Shon, who just completed her freshman year at Princeton University, in five-hole playoff for the final spot in this week’s $1.5 million ShopRite LPGA Classic on the Bay Course at Seaview resort. Young-A Yang birdied the first playoff hole to also claim a spot in the Classic.
The Classic will be Bartholomew’s first LPGA event of the year.
“It will be nice to tee it up in an event again,” she said.
Bartholomew, 44, and Shon, 19, are both from
Long Island. They played together at the Women’s Met Open Championship in 2009 in Huntington, N.Y. Bartholomew won and Shon finished tied for second.
The two struck up a relationship. Shon needed help with her short game, so she went to Bartholomew. They worked together last summer.
“It’s kind of funny to play with your student,” Bartholomew said.
Shon showed just how much the lessons worked on the third playoff hole – the par-4 10th hole. Shon hit her approach shot in a bunker in front of the green. She blasted out to within a foot of the hole to save par and extend the playoff.
“I was like, “I taught her how to do that,’ ” Bartholomew said.
Bartholomew and Shon were among 15 golfers who competed in Monday’s qualifying round for two spots in the Classic’s 150-player field.
Monday qualifying rounds on the LPGA Tour are usually ho-hum events. The qualifiers are for nonexempt touring professionals, club professionals and amateurs with low enough handicaps. There is no leaderboard and few, if any, spectators. Workers scurried about the course Monday getting it ready for the rest of the week. Traffic zoomed by on Route 9.
Shon, Bartholomew and Yang each shot an even-par 71.
Their playoff produced drama the actual tournament would be thrilled to match. About 10 people watched the event. The action ended at 8:10 p.m. The qualifying round started at 1 p.m.
The golfers alternated playing the 10th and 18th holes during the playoff.
Yang, 32, sank an 8-foot putt to birdie the first playoff hole. Shon and Bartholomew both parred the hole.
Young, who finished tied for 117th in her only LPGA event this year, could have clinched a spot without a playoff. But she three-putted from 10 feet for bogey on the 18th hole.
“The funny thing is, I knew when I missed (the par) putt I was headed for a playoff,” Young said. “I just kind of felt that. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t worried. I was playing well. I was still confident.”
Shon and Bartholomew played on. They parred the next three playoff holes.
Finally, Bartholomew won on the fifth playoff hole. She hit her approach shot to within five feet of the cup on No. 17. Shon had a 25-foot putt for birdie. The ball rolled left to right and just slid by the cup on the low side.
Bartholomew, using a long putter, sank her putt to win the playoff. Bartholomew and Shon walked off the green together.
“This course always plays harder than you think, even though the wind wasn’t up,” Bartholomew said. “The fescue is way up. I managed to keep it in the fairway.
Shon wasn’t disappointed.
“I’m happy how I stuck in there,” she said. “It was very scrappy golf. I didn’t go in with too many expectations. I just thought it would be a lot of fun, and I knew I would come out with a lot of experience. That’s what happened.”
Bartholomew hasn’t played fulltime on the LPGA Tour since 2006.
“I decided this summer to take a break from teaching and try to play again just because I’m still hitting it good,” she said.
Bartholomew tried but failed to qualify for the Avnet LPGA Classic in Alabama in April and missed by one shot of qualifying for the RR Donnelley LPGA Founder’s Cup in Phoenix in March.
The Classic is almost a hometown event for her. Her parents, who live in Long Island, will be able to watch her play this week.
And while Bartholomew the teacher won Monday, better days should be ahead for Shon the student.
“She has a great future ahead of her,” Bartholomew said. “I’m glad it’s over.”