Tina Barrett, backed by the best of her three seasons on the LPGA tour, is about to reap some of the rewards that go with a high finish on the money list.
This week, the Baltimorean will team with the PGA Tour's Fred Funk of Laurel in the annual mixed team championship, and she is the first alternate for next week's Itoman LPGA Match Play Championship of the World.
The Barrett-Funk pairing was made in late August at a charity tournament at Eagle's Nest. Both were in the field and talked about it afterward.
Barrett had mentioned earlier she would like to team with Funk. After she had asked, and been accepted, Funk said he, too, had been thinking about such a combination.
"It seemed like a natural," Funk said last week. "I had played with her once in a [Middle Atlantic PGA] pro-lady tournament at Piney Branch several years ago, and now we had a chance to do it again."
The two will join 51 other teams in the tournament, sponsored for the past 14 years by JCPenney, and set for the Innisbrook Resort in Tarpon Springs, Fla., Thursday through Sunday.
The format calls for each player to drive on every hole. On the par-3s, the better ball will be selected and played on an alternate basis. On the par-4s and 5s, the players hit each other's drive for the second shot, then select one ball to be played alternately.
"I'm looking forward to the week," Funk said, "for the chance to play with Tina, and the different format."
There is, however, one nagging concern, as he is on the mend from arthroscopic surgery of a month ago. "As of now, I'll play, but the [left] shoulder is still real sore."
Funk, 35, enjoyed the best part of his year through the first six months, as he collected all but about $30,000 of his season's $226,915 (No. 73) in that span.
A recurrence of a shoulder injury hampered his play during the late summer and fall, most recently at the Kapalua International on Maui, Hawaii. There, two weeks after surgery, Funk had rounds of 73-67-74-79293.
"I didn't care for the golf course [the resort's Plantation course], but I played pretty solid, except for the last round," Funk pointed out.
"In one stretch of seven holes, I had six three-putts -- five in a row, a 1- putt, and another three-putt. I can't remember six three-putts in a round, let alone a stretch like that.
"The problem with the shoulder is in the rotator cuff -- it's not a tear, but an inflammation -- the same thing I had in 1987, only I hope it doesn't take two years to recover like that one.
"The doctor cleaned out some scar tissue and calcium. It's in the back of the shoulder, so I really feel it at the top of the backswing. I've been having trouble with the driver, it feels different, so I've been swinging differently. As a result, I have no timing."
Barrett's year included a best finish of a solo third at the Chicago Shoot-Out. There were three top 10s and four more where she tied for 11th. Overall, she made the cut in 19 of 26 starts, and finished 32nd in money with $138,232.
In the Shoot-Out, she put together a string of 38 straight holes without a bogey, tying Pat Bradley for the fourth-best tour effort. Dottie Mochrie led with 53 holes.
Although only three women and two men from the top 10 money-winners on their respective tours are in the field, two of them are the defending champions, Beth Daniel-Davis Love III.