Stupples takes time from hectic schedule to present her trophy

Friday, October 14, 2005

Karen Stupples admits it is an odd thing to have a trophy named in one's honor.

"It's like hearing your voice on the radio for the first time," Stupples said Thursday prior to the start of the Stupples Cup tournament at Dalhousie Golf Club. "It sounds weird but it feels pretty cool."

Stupples, Dalhousie's touring pro and a member of the LPGA Tour, even was part of the winning team last year in the event's inaugural run.

This year's event attracted nine teams of three amateur women and a club professional. The format is best two balls with handicapped scoring.

"They cut me out of it this year," said Stupples, who gave a clinic and visited with players during their rounds but did not play.

Stupples hasn't had a shortage of chances to play this year, though, as she winds down what she admits has been an exhausting season. In 20 LPGA events this year, she has one top 10 finish -- at the U.S. Women's Open -- and is 40th on the money list with $287,489 in earnings. A two-time winner last year, when she won the Women's British Open and ranked sixth on the money final list, her schedule this year also included tournaments in South Africa and Australia to start the year and six weeks of summer in Europe leading up to the Solheim Cup.

"I traveled more this year than I've ever traveled," Stupples said. "This year, I've been really tired.

"In the last five months, I spent one week at home. It's been just two weeks in the last seven months. That's 6 1/2 months living out of a suitcase, and that's not a good thing."

The weight of the season finally caught up with Stupples last week at the Longs Drug Challenge, the second event of a West Coast swing for her. She shot a 74 in the first round and withdrew.

"Essentially, I just wanted to go home," Stupples said. "The whole thing caught up with me. I had no will to fight that week. When I was 1 or 2 under, I was OK, but I hit a water hazard and lost all patience with it. My body was telling me to stop right now."

Stupples spent some time at her home in Florida, where she will return today. But she will follow that with a 2 1/2-week swing through Korea and Japan before returning for The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions from Nov. 10 through 13 in Mobile, Ala.

She plans to return to Asia in December, but has 2006 mapped out as a season with less traveling and more rest between events.

"I'll still have some European Tour presence but not as much next year," she said. "I'm not going to make it a priority. My priorities will be my LPGA schedule and taking care of myself."

On that note, Stupples soon will be picking up a Yorkshire terrier that was born about 2 1/2 weeks ago in Tennessee and will travel with her.

"It's my first one," she said. "I'm excited about that."

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