Oldest Team in Women’s Four-Ball Displays Youthful Competitiveness May 28, 2017 | MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. By Tom Cunneff

Therese Quinn (left) and three-time U.S. Senior Women's Amateur champion Diane Lang didn't come to Myrtle Beach in search of moral victories. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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After hitting her ball into the trees on the right side of the 18th hole at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Therese Quinn locks her eyes on the ball of her partner, Diane Lang, as it scoots down the fairway.

“Get in the light green!” Quinn yelled, urging the ball into the down-grain side of the fairway on the left.

The oldest team competing in the 3rd U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship – Lang is 62 and Quinn is 66 – finished 13 over par and did not advance to match play, but they were still talking to their balls and grinding away on every shot because that’s what champions do. Lang is a three-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Champion (2005, 2006, 2008) and Quinn is a four-time USGA medalist.

When they made bogey on 18 to finish at 8-over 80, it left a really bad taste in their mouths.

“That last hole killed us because we did not want to see that score,” said Lang, a real-estate agent who lives in Weston, Fla. “Just one shot would have made our drive home OK. Now we have to digest that.”

Added Quinn, a State Farm insurance agent who lives in Jacksonville, Fla.: “An 80 is not acceptable in a single ball or a best-ball.”

That score will fade with time, but what won’t is the memorable experience the two friends had this week. Getting to play in a USGA championship means everything to these two die-hard competitors.

“It always takes you up a notch with your game when you can get into a USGA event,” said Quinn, who has played in 13 USGA championships, including three consecutive U.S. Women’s Opens from 1971-1973. “It doesn't get any better for me as an amateur.” 

And even though they were the oldest team in the field, Lang and Quinn didn’t feel like they were competing against the youngsters that have dominated the Women’s Four-Ball since it began two years ago.

“It’s not about competing with the young ladies,” said Lang, who is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, and played on the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and mini-tours in the mid-1980s. “It’s about competing against yourself, against the course and all the challenges that you have with the sport when you're in a competition. It draws everything that you have out of you to compete.”

Lang and Quinn met at the 2005 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at The Apawamis Club, where they both tied for second in stroke play before Lang went on to capture the first of her three titles. The duo has played in a number of Florida four-ball events over the years before qualifying in Phoenix in January for their first Women’s Four-Ball.

“We just fit together, traveling-wise, playing-wise,” said Lang.

Despite the week at The Dunes not going as well as they’d hope, count on them trying to qualify again for next year’s Four-Ball at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.

“Heck, yeah!” said Lang. “We're signing up tomorrow. It's something to be able to say that you qualified for a national tournament. That's a big deal no matter what happens.”

Tom Cunneff is a South Carolina-based freelance writer.

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