Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone

The other day it just popped into my head: Where are the lefties? The PGA has Mickelson, Weir and Cochran, among others. Bob Charles won the British Open over 40 years ago playing backwards. I don’t remember ever seeing a left-handed golfer play on the LPGA Tour.

There have been several left-handed people who have played quite well on the LPGA Tour, they just swung the clubs standing on the same side of the ball as everyone else. JoAnne Carner and Beth Daniel are the most notable of those that I’ve found. I myself am left-handed so I’ve always been inclined to notice this type of thing. Like JoAnne and Beth, I also swing a golf club right-handed – I’ve never been able to explain that, it always felt like the proper way. I learned to swing a baseball bat that way and the golf swing naturally followed.

So when I started thinking about this, my natural reaction was “Google!”. There don’t appear to be any left-handers playing this season, but there have been a few in the past. Here are the only four true Lady Lefties I found:

Bonnie Bryant played on Tour from 1971 until 1983. She won the 1974 Bill Branch Classic, making her the only lefty to ever win an LPGA event. Bryant finished 22nd on the money list that same year. Bonnie got into a five-way playoff at the 1979 Coca-Cola Classic (wasn’t that before New Coke came out?) but lost to Nancy Lopez. Knee injuries hastened her retirement after the 1983 season.

Angela Buzminski finished second on the Futures Tour money list in 2001 to gain exempt status for 2002. She finished 141st on the LPGA money list in ’02, dropping her to non-exempt status where she competed from 2003 to 2005. Her best finish on the LPGA Tour was T20 at the Wendy’s in 2003. In her 45 career starts, she has only made the cut 12 times. Angela is currently playing again on the Futures Tour.

Kelly Lagedrost was a non-exempt player from 2004 to 2006. In 30 career starts she has made five cuts with her best finish being a T46 at the 2004 Wendy’s. She now plays on the Futures Tour and doubles as the women’s golf coach at the University of South Florida.

Malinda Johnson was an exempt player in 2005. After completing an All-Big Ten career at the University of Wisconsin, she finished fifth on the Futures Tour money list in ’04 to gain that exempt status. In 18 career LPGA starts she made only three cuts, but she did manage a T15 at the Safeway International. She finished 112th on the ’05 money list and lost her exemption. During this time Malinda was suffering from a genetic disorder which resulted in terrible shoulder problems. She had reconstructive surgery in early 2006 and during her rehab has been working as an assistant pro at a course near Milwaukee. According to this article, she hopes to return to competitive golf in the near future. I hope she does too – she’s only 25 and judging from her collegiate and Futures Tour results, she was a solid prospect.

If you are aware of any other portsiders who have played regularly on the LPGA Tour, be sure to pass along their names. By the way, the title of this post is an old Elvis Presley rockabilly song he recorded while he was still at Sun Records.

2 comments:

Paul W said...

That's funny, I had exactly the same reaction watching the SemGroup and did the same google search. I'm not left handed, but one of my daughters is. It's odd given that something like 10-13% of the overall population is left handed and there are a number of men who play from the left (including Mickelson who I believe is naturally right handed).

Could be that there are some lefties playing right handed that we don't know about.

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