FAR HILLS, New Jersey (Feb. 5, 2016) -- The United States Golf Association today announced Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., as the host sites of the inaugural 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship and 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, respectively.
“The USGA is proud to realize its vision of hosting national championships for players of all age demographics, and we are thrilled that the first two editions of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at two of the most respected courses in the United States,” said USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., who announced the establishment of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in February 2015. “We hope this championship will inspire generations of female golfers to continue competing at the highest level long into their careers.”
The championship will be open to professional females, and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday as of the first day of the championship. The field will include 120 players, who will earn entry into the championship via sectional qualifying at sites nationwide or through an exemption category, the details of which will be announced at a later date.
The format will mirror that of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships: a walking-only, 72-hole stroke play competition over four consecutive days with a 36-hole cut to the top 60 players, including ties. Prize money will be announced at a later date.
The first U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested July 12-15, 2018 at Chicago Golf Club, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA and the oldest golf club in the U.S. in continuous use at the same location. The club was founded in 1893 by Charles Blair Macdonald, who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur in 1895. The original 18-hole course was renovated in 1923 by Seth Raynor and remains largely unchanged today.
This will be Chicago Golf Club’s 12th USGA championship. The club hosted its first two USGA championships in 1897 – the U.S. Open, won by Joe Lloyd, and the U.S. Amateur, won by H.J. Whigham. It also hosted the 1900 U.S. Open, won by Harry Vardon, a six-time winner of the Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, and the 1911 U.S. Open, won by 19-year-old John J. McDermott, who survived a three-man playoff to become the championship’s first American winner. Additional USGA championships contested at the club include: the U.S. Amateur (1905, 1909 and 1912), U.S. Women’s Amateur (1903), U.S. Senior Amateur (1979), and two Walker Cup Matches, both won by the USA Team (1928 and 2005).
“As a founding member of the USGA, Chicago Golf Club is honored to support the USGA’s newest championship by hosting the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open,” said Brad Kinsey, president of Chicago Golf Club. “We look forward to making this, our 12th USGA championship, an exceptional event for players and spectators alike.”
The 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, the 61st USGA championship to be contested in Illinois, will be the state’s first Open championship since the 2003 U.S. Open, won by Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields Country Club. The 2015 U.S. Amateur, won by Bryson DeChambeau and also played at Olympia Fields, was the most recent USGA championship played in Illinois.
Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club has a rich USGA history, most recently hosting the 2007 U.S. Women's Open. (Pine Needles L&G.C.)Pine Needles will host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open from May 16-19. Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1928, the course was most recently renovated in 2004 by John Fought, who oversaw the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original forms with the aid of vintage aerial photos.
This will be the sixth USGA championship contested at Pine Needles and the first since the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, won by Cristie Kerr. The club, owned by women’s golf advocate, instructor and former LPGA Tour player Peggy Kirk Bell, also hosted the 1996 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, respectively. Additionally, the 1989 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 1991 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur championships were contested at Pine Needles.
"On behalf of the Bell family and our entire community, Pine Needles is thrilled the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship,” said Kelly Miller, president of Pine Needles. “Having hosted three previous U.S. Women’s Opens, we look forward to seeing some familiar faces and welcoming all competitors to this new USGA championship. I'm confident our Donald Ross-designed course will identify another great champion."
This will be the 32nd USGA championship contested in North Carolina, which most recently hosted the historic back-to-back 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open championships at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst. Upcoming USGA championships in the Tar Heel State include the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and the 2019 U.S. Amateur, both at Pinehurst, and the 2018 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Charlotte Country Club.