Pine Needles (USGA photo)
Last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open was a big hit, and the magic returns this year at Pine Needles Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. – you know, the late Peggy Kirk Bell’s place. A field of 120 women ages 50 and over will tee it up for four rounds on May 16-19. That field will include a strong amateur presence.
The full list of exempt players (along with their exemption categories) can be found here
Highlights from qualifiers across the country are below:
Green Brook Country Club, North Caldwell, N.J.
While no amateurs qualified in New Jersey, the Juno Beach, Fla., based Carolina Hart did go down as the second alternate from the location after a 78 that left her two shots off the pace.
Medinah (Ill.) Country Club (Course No. 2)
Hui Chong Dofflemyer, an amateur from Belvidere, Ill., had a 75 to tie Audra Burks for the final two of three spots out of Medinah.
Edina (Minn.) Country Club
Only one spot was available in Edina, and it went to professional Karen Weiss, but Minnesota-based amateurs Betsy Aldrich and Adele Peterson were the first and second alternates, respectively.
Tualatin (Ore.) Country Club
The women earning the two available spots in Oregon were both West Coast-based amateurs. Linda Bowman Segre, of San Francisco, medaled with an 82 and Leslie Folsom, a seven-time winner of the Seattle Women’s Golf Association City Championship, was second with 83.
Glenmoor Country Club, Englewood, Colo.
While she’s no longer an amateur, what Sue Nyhus accomplished in this qualifier still has amateur undertones. By medaling at Glenmoor, Nyhus, the Utah Valley women’s golf coach from Orem, Utah, has now qualified for every USGA Championship offered to her. Nyhus played professionally after graduating from BYU, regained her amateur status, then recently turned professional again so she could focus on teaching.
“It didn’t even dawn on me until just a couple of years ago,” Nyhus told Golfweek
, “and then all of a sudden it just became an obsession, when I realized it was within reach.”
Amateur Kristine Franklin of Broomfield, Colo., joined Nyhus in qualifying.
Stanford (Calif.) Golf Course
Three of the five qualifiers at Stanford were amateurs, even though the medalist, with an even-par 71 was college coach Dana Dormann, who plays as a professional. Dormann, who coaches at her alma mater San Jose State University, also qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open last year.
The three amateur qualifiers include Sally Krueger of San Francisco, Marianne Towersey of Pebble Beach, Calif., and Lynne Cowan of Rocklin, Calif. Cowan won her third California Senior Women’s Amateur a year ago, and that trio of titles goes nicely with her four California Women’s Amateur titles, which is a record.
Country Club of Salisbury (N.C.)
Amateur Patty Moore, a Pinehurst, N.C., resident, led all qualifiers at the Country Club of Salisbury, using an even-par 72 to win medalist honors. Canadian Terrill Samuel, runner-up at the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur in 2017, came in third with a 75. The remaining two spots went to professionals.
Richland Country Club, Nashville, Tenn.
A very familiar face qualified out of Nashville, and that would be Ellen Port. The seven-time USGA champion will play the U.S. Senior Women’s Open for a second consecutive year. Port not only made the cut at Chicago Golf Club last summer, but followed it up by making the cut in the U.S. Women’s Amateur a month later. She fell in the first round against the young guns.
Alongside Port, Susan West of Tuscaloosa, Ala., also qualified. West also competed in the inaugural event last summer. Both women had rounds of 72 in Nashville to book their return trip.
Capital City Club at Brookhaven, Atlanta
Two Georgia legends advanced in Atlanta in Laura Coble and Brenda Pictor. Both have won more than their share of amateur titles, often going up against each other. Pictor won five consecutive Georgia Women’s Senior titles from 2009-13. Coble, who held off Pictor to win this year’s Georgia Women’s Senior, was runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
The Club at Eaglebrooke, Lakeland, Fla.
Three Floridians advanced through the qualifier in their home state, including Tama Caldabaugh of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Susan Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Kim Keyer-Scott of Estero, Fla.
Keyer-Scott is the reigning Florida Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, while Cohn has established herself as a familiar face at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Caldabaugh is a cancer survivor who won the Jacksonville Women’s Golf Association Championship in 2013 while undergoing chemotherapy.
Tamarisk Country Club, Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Eight players qualified out of Tamarisk, and only two were amateurs. Those players include Kathy Kurata, the Los Angeles native who is a familiar face at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, and Japan’s Akemi Nakata Khaiat. Notably, San Diego State head coach Leslie Spalding, who remains a professional, also got through.
Union League National Golf Club, Swainton, N.J.
No amateurs advanced from New Jersey, but an amateur will go down as the second alternate from the site. That would be Noreen Mohler, the 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup captain, who posted an 80 for the honor.
Briarwood Country Club, Sun City West, Ariz.
More than half of the six qualifiers out of Sun City were amateurs. Dina Ammaccapane, who played on the LPGA tour in the 1990s and early 2000s, led all qualifiers with a 73, but Leigh Klasse came in right behind her. Klasse is a six-time Minnesota Women’s State Senior winner who also played the U.S. Senior Women’s Open last year at Chicago Golf Club. She names it as a highlight of her golf career, mostly because her youngest son came along as her caddie.
Amy Ellertson of Free Union, Va., Kim Eaton of Mesa, Ariz., and Ronda Henderson of Las Vegas rounded out the amateur contingent.
Columbus (Ohio) CC
Among the two players to advance out of the Columbus qualifier was Canadian Mary Ann Hayward. The 59-year-old has won four Canadian Women’s Amateurs and three Canadian Women’s Seniors in addition to the 2005 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. She got through the U.S. Senior Women’s Open qualifier with a 76, which is exactly what she needed for the second and final spot.
San Antonio (Texas) Country Club
The qualifier at San Antonio (Texas) Country Club was overrun with amateurs. Three of the four qualifiers were amateurs too, and that included Kelley Nittoli (76), Julie Harrison
(82) and Marilyn Hardy
Nittoli is a reinstated amateur and native Texan who has worked as a club professional. She also qualified for last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open as well as the Senior Women’s Amateur. Harrison, a Baton Rouge, La., resident, finished in the top 5 at the Louisiana Women’s Amateur each of the past two years.
Marilyn Hardy, of Magnolia, Texas, is married to Jim Hardy, the former PGA Tour player and well-known teaching professional. She also played in this event last year, as well as the Senior Women’s Amateur and Women’s Mid-Amateur.
The Bay Club in Mattapoisett, Mass
The first five players are into the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open, and one amateur is among them. Canadian Marie Therese Torti
, who advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur in October, qualified by winning a one-hole playoff for the final spot after posting a 6-over 77 at The Bay Club in Mattapoisett, Mass. Torti also played last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open, even making the 36-hole cut.
Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Va.
was the only amateur to take a spot in the qualifier at Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Va. Her 6-over 78 earned her the third of four spots. McGill is a USGA veteran, and was a quarterfinalist in the 2017 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.