Hollis Stacy, who twice trailed and four times was tied in a dramatic confrontation with Jo Anne Carner, holed a five-foot parsaving putt on the 72nd hole yesterday and won her second consecutive U.S. Women's Open Golf championship by a single stroke.
The bouncy, buddly Stacy, 24, successfully defended the national title with a final round one-over-par 72 an a four-round total of 289.
The veteran Carner, a two-time winner of this title and a five-time U.S. women's amateur champion, and Sally Little were a single stroke back at 290,
Carner shot 72 in the final round that twice was delayed by thunderstorms and Little, 26, fired a spectacular 65 that was, by two shots, the best score ever returned in this event.
Little, a resident of Dallas, one-putted 13 times on the rain-softened greens on the way to her record effort. She played about an hour and a half ahead of the other leaders.
She could only sit and wait and watch and wonder as Stacy and Carner drifted back to her.
"I don't wish bad luck to anyone," she said, "but I sure would like to have a chance to win."
She did. At least she had an excellent chance to be in a three-way playoff.
With a one-shot lead over Carner and Little. Stacy drove poorly off the 18th tee and found her ball on deep rough at the foot of a hill.
She pulled her next shot to the left of the green, still in the rough. Now she was faced with the necessity of getting it up and down in two to win outright.
She made an excellent chip over the brow of a little mound and the ball ran to within 5'feet of the cup. Stoney-faced in concentration and act a flicker of emotion crossed her round little face.
After Carner dropped a 10-foot parsaving putt, Stacy studied hers, then rammed ini n the back of the cup. Now the emotion came out. She let out a happy yell, thrust both fists into the air then leaped into the arms of her caddy for a victory hug.
Stacy collected $15,000 for her victory in the total purse of $100,000.
It was another three strokes back of Carner and Little to Pam Higgins and Jane Blalock, tied for fourth at 293.Higgins matched par of 71 in the last round over the wet and soggy. 6,115-yard Country Club of Indianapolis course and Blalock struggled to 74.
Nancy Lopez, who ended in this tournament the most spectacular rookie season ever compiled by either man or woman, never really became a factor over the last round.
Sent reeling back in the pack by a "awful, terrible, horrible 79," in Saturday's third round, she never drew closer than 5 strokes and finished 6 shots back at 295. "I'm very disappointed," said Lopez, who won seven titles this season, including a record five in a row.
"I very much wanted to win here. I thought I could. I really played well for two days.
"But," she said, and offered a sad little smile, "it just wasn't to be."