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Heather Farr Hoping to Go a Long Way on the Women's Golf Tour

March 09, 1987|DAN HAFNER | Times Staff Writer

The LPGA, which grew rapidly in the late 70s and the early 80s, is a little concerned that its tour is becoming stagnant.

At a time when the men's Senior Tour is mushrooming, the LPGA is looking for an exciting new star to draw attention to its tour again. It has been a decade since Nancy Lopez brought her ability and charisma to the rescue of women's golf.

Since, there have been a number of outstanding golfers join the tour, but the excitement of a Lopez has been missing.

If you'll pardon the pun, help may not be too far away. Heather Farr may be the answer.

Farr, only 5-1, is just beginning her second year on the tour. She hasn't won a tournament, but she has all the shots, and that magical element called charisma. The future seems bright for the brunette with the flashing green eyes, who will turn 22 on Tuesday.

For the time being, though, there are lessons to be learned and some heartaches. Going into the final round of the GNA/Glendale Federal Classic Sunday at Oakmont Country Club, she was just five shots behind co-leaders Robin Walton and Colleen Walker and tied with Jane Geddes.

Farr was in a threesome with Geddes for the final round. While the more experienced Geddes shot a 67 and won the tournament in a playoff, Farr was the victim of a faulty putter and soared to a six-over 78 and a 297 total.

Already, in just five tournaments this year, she has earned $23,738, almost as much as she did in 1986 as a rookie. A fourth at Sarasota last month is the highest finish in her brief career. She needs a third or better at Tucson next week or in her hometown of Phoenix the following week to become eligible to play in the Nabisco Dinah Shore the first week of April.

Her enthusiasm and confidence, in addition to her beauty have made her an instant gallery favorite. About three-fourths of the gallery was following Geddes in her brilliant round, but there was a group that chanted: "Go Heather! Go Heather!" after she putted on the 17th.

There is some brashness, too. When she was 9, she approached Lee Trevino at the Phoenix Open to autograph an article about him. The next year she wrote him a letter and invited him to dinner. To her surprise, he showed up.

"Lee is a wonderful person," Farr said. "My pro at home taught me the fundamentals, but Lee taught me new shots and how to work the ball."

There is no doubt in Farr's mind that she will be a success. She is certain all she has to do is learn patience. It isn't easy she said.

"I never doubted that I could play out here," she said. "As an amateur I played with most of them and did all right. I wasn't worried about qualifying school, especially when I learned there were 35 spots open.

"Last year I won $26,000 and could have done better. I missed all of June because of a neck injury. For 3 1/2 weeks it hurt so much I couldn't swing a club. That's a real problem right in the middle of the season.

Farr, who reached 5-1 at age 13 and hasn't gotten any taller, doesn't let her lack of height bother her. She has worked with weights for years.

"I hit the ball far enough to be competitive and that's what counts," she said. "I learned a long time ago that I would be playing against some long hitters. It just doesn't bother me. I know I can play."

Farr started following her father around the golf course when she was just a youngster. At 8 1/2 she started playing the game. She made rapid strides in the junior programs in Phoenix. Twice she won Junior World titles. At Arizona State, she was an NCAA All-American. In 1983 she was low amateur in the U.S. Women's Open and the next year she was on the Curtis Cup team.

She has all the credentials. It figures to be just a matter of time.

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