Clare Dolan's golf game was good enough last summer to win the national PGA Junior Girls Championship, and good enough last fall to help Seneca Valley to the Maryland state high school title.
But a tuneup under the guidance of her brother Bob and former PGA Tour player Jerry Heard, improved Dolan's game even more, and in mid-July, she defeated Sarah LeBrun for the Maryland Women's Amateur championship.
The following week, Dolan, 18, of Montgomery Village, shot 75 at Columbia Country Club and shared the medal with LeBrun and Lois Ledbetter in leading seven qualifiers into one of golf's prestige events, the U.S. Golf Association Women's Amateur, to be held at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh, Monday through Aug. 10.
After finishing high school, Dolan went to South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island, near Fort Myers, Fla., where her brother is head pro and Heard is director of golf. Heard helped with her short game, and a new graphite driver and her brother's tips added distance to her tee shots.
With the double improvement, she shot par for 15 holes in defeating LeBrun in the Maryland State Golf Association women's tournament. LeBrun, of Duke University and Owings Mills, Md., had won the three previous meetings between the two.
"All our matches were so close before," Dolan said. "I just felt if I could really hit the ball well, I could win. I finally got her this time."
Dolan had rounds of 74 and 75 last autumn at the University of Maryland to win the state high school girls title. Her total tied that of the boys winner, Doug Ridgway.
After the national amateur, Dolan will likely play in the Middle Atlantic Women's tournament in September. Then she will be off for her freshman year at Stanford, where she earned a full golf scholarship.
"I just can't wait to get out there," she said. "I'm pretty excited about it. They have some good players, and I'll have to work very hard."
Other area women playing in the U.S. Amateur are Kim Williams, last year's runner up and an automatic qualifier, and LeBrun, Ledbetter, Bonnie Fry and Liz Fry.
The sixth annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Celebrity Golf and Tennis Tournament will be held Sept. 9 at Argyle Country Club. Persons interested in playing golf or tennis, or companies interested in sponsoring a tee or green, should contact chairman Sandra McAtee at 460-9545.
The 63rd Washington Metropolitan Golf Association Junior, that section's oldest event, will be held Monday through Wednesday at Montgomery Country Club in Laytonsville, Md. The popular WMGA team matches, matching 12 of a club's top players, begins Saturday with all 32 member clubs. Tantallon, in Prince George's County, is defending team champion.