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Golf and tennis mark first day of Senior Games

Friday, June 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alfred Richardson knows Lake of the Woods Golf Course. After all, he used to work there.

Before Lake of the Woods became a municipal course, he worked as a chef during its country club days.

Richardson, 70, played in the 70-74 scratch division of the Senior Show-Me State Games golf tournament Thursday at Lake of the Woods and said he “didn’t play too good.”

Earl Finley from Sedalia won the division with a 77. A total of 80 men and women age 50 and older played.

“I couldn’t putt today,” Richardson said. “Usually that’s my game.”

Richardson, from Centralia, walks with a cane because of arthritis and recent hip surgery. To sum it up, Richardson said, “I’m just old.”

He said he can rarely make it to the green in regulation and relies on one- and two-putts to play bogey golf.

“If I got no chipper or putter, I got no game,” Richardson said. “It don’t hurt to swing at all. What hurts is the excess walking. I could (play) all day if I could swing and sit in a chair.”

Richardson has been playing golf for over 40 years and said he has competed in the Senior Show-Me State tournament for six or seven years. Richardson calls golf “exercise, but more of a passion,” and averages a round a week.

“The rest of the time,” Richardson said, “I’m a couch potato.”

Tennis

The competition between Mae Ylager and Jackie Harshbarger was so heated during their match that Ylager shouted the “S” word.

You guessed it: shucksabomber.

“That’s my cuss word,” Ylager said.

Ylager and Harshbarger competed in singles during the Senior Show-Me State Games on Thursday evening at Green Tennis Center.

Ylager, from St. Louis, and Harshbarger, from Granite City, Ill., participated in the 65-74 age division and will also play as doubles partners. They are aiming for a medal in the 2005 National Senior Games in Pittsburgh.

“I was just lucky to say, in a group of women, ‘If anybody is over 70 and wants to play tennis doubles and go to nationals if we qualify...’” Ylager said. “And (Harshbarger) said, ‘Oh, I will, I will.’”

Said Harshbarger, “It’s good that we met because we’re both competitive.”

Thursday’s match marked the second time they have played each other. Throughout the match, Ylager and Harshbarger exchanged pleasantries such as “nice shot” and expressed frustration with “I hate you.”

“It’s kind of intense,” Harshbarger said. “We want to win.

“It doesn’t matter if she’s my partner or I’m her partner ... we want to win, but we don’t want to cutthroat win. We laugh, and then we cuss, and then we laugh.”

Asked who won, Harshbarger said through gritted teeth, “(Ylager) did.”


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