Mary Ann Battle grew up in a house between the first tee and the 18th green at the All View Golf Course in Ellicott City, Md. Her father, Johnny Musser, was the golf pro and her first instructor.
"I'd play golf after school and practice with him," she recalled yesterday. "I entered my first tournament when I was 10 and won it with 54 for nine holes. In the 1950s I won quite a few of the junior tournaments around here."
Yesterday, she picked up another award. She was the medallist in the Women's District Golf Association championship with 73 on the par-71 course at the Montgomery Village Golf Club.
Battle, the women's Maryland State Amatuer Champion, said she played to her handicap of three, despite a bad back and neck, completing a 35-38 - 73. On the back nine, she missed the green and bogeyed the 14th, but birdied the 17th with a 12-foot putt for an even-par 35.
On the par-37 front nine, she missed the green and bogeyed the seventh and missed a five-foot putt from the fringe on the eighth for another bogey.
Her stiffest competition in the four days of match play, which begins this morning at 8:30, is expected to come from six women who finished in the 70s yeaterday: Sue Keeney (38-36 - 74), Rebecca Doman (40-37 - 77), Bernice Morrison (39-39 - 78), Fran Schultz (39-40-79), Nancy Hollenbeck (41-38 - 79), and Sharon Briggs (42-37 - 79).
Battle lost the WDGA championship last year to Hollenbeck on the second extra hole because she hit out of bounds. Before that she had not played in WDGA championship since 1972 when she was also medallist at River Bend.
Two weeks ago, she shot 69 at Tantallon, site of last year's WDGA championship, a course record for women. Last year she also broke the women's course record at Potomac Valley with 69.
This year, she has a special reason for wanting to do well: "This is probably the last year I'll be able to play in tournament competition. I'll be 39 this year and amatuer golf costs a lot to play," she said, adding she estimates she paid $2,000 for caddies, traveling and entry fees locally last year.