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Oldsmobile Classic title was Dottie pepper’s 16th

Dottie Pepper is the defending champion of the Oldsmobile Classic. In 1999, she won two tournaments, including the prestigious Nabisco Dinah Shore for the second time. She began her career on the LPGA Tour in 1988 and has amassed 16 victories through the end of the last year. In 1992, she won the Rolex Player of the Year award and the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average. She has won the Jim Thorpe Award, an ESPY award, and has played on five Solheim Cup teams. Michigan Golfer recently talked about her career and her 1999 season:

MG: Which of your wins in 1999 meant more to you personally?

PEPPER: Obviously, both wins were very important, but majors (the Nabisco Dinah Shore) are always weighed a little differently in my mind. The win at Oldsmobile was an exclamation point to the year for me.

MG: What was your best round of last year, the incredible 63 you shot in the second round of the Oldsmobile Classic?

PEPPER: (Laughing) Wow. The scary thing about the 63 was that, as good as it was, it should have been three or four shots better. It had all the makings of a 59!

MG: How do you feel about your chance to make the LPGA Hall of Fame?

PEPPER: I’m more than ready, but I’m just trying to be patient. It will happen if I remain patient. It’s been a goal and a dream — now it’s within sight. It’s exciting.

MG: What does Dottie Pepper do to improve her game, or what should she be doing?

PEPPER: Definitely spending more time pitching and chipping the ball. In addition, I’m working out a lot. The level of talent out here right now is so much better than when I first came out on Tour, I need to keep working and practicing to compete against these players.

MG: What are your memories of Lansing and golf in Michigan?

PEPPER: Lansing, without a doubt, has some of our best and most enthusiastic crowds of the year. They always welcome the players so openly; that’s why we all like coming to Michigan. The only other golf I’ve played in Michigan was at the U.S. Open at Indianwood. The response of the crowd was much the same there.

MG: Reflect on the 1999 season. How do you rate or think about it?

PEPPER: 1999 was a bunch of highs and lows. I had two big ones, but I also had bouts with illness and injuries that knocked me out four months of the season. I really think it could have been an awesome year without those interruptions — just like 1992.

MG : How do you feel playing the course at Walnut Hills Country Club?

PEPPER: Walnut Hills is one of the most balanced lay outs we play all year. I am a big fan of the “old style” gold courses — which I consider Walnut Hills to be. It places a great premium on driving accuracy and distance control, into some very smallish-type greens.

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