Qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open has been completed at various sites across the country (and the world) as players tried to punch their ticket to the 76th U.S. Women's Open Championship at the Olympic Club (Lake Course) in San Francisco, Calif.
Nearly 1600 entries were received, and professional and amateur golfers competed across 24 sectional qualifying sites in the U.S., with an additional site in Japan.
Highlights from qualifying include:
The qualifier at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Mountain, Ariz., may have been the most stacked field of any of the regional qualifying sites. Filled with Tour pros and top college players, it took 8 under par just to grab one of the six available spots. Arizona State sophomore Amanda Linner
of Sweden shot 67 in the morning only to fall back with an outward 37 in the afternoon capped by a double on the 9th hole. But five birdies in a row starting at the 11th sparked her to a 69, getting her to 8 under and making her the last amateur to advance to the 2021 U.S. Women's Open.
14-year-old Chloe Kovelesky
(Boca Raton, Fla.), who finished runner-up in the 2020 Harder Hall Invitational, is heading to the U.S. Open after rounds of 70-70 at Banyan Cay Resort & Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Kovelesky played in a strong qualifying field that included several LPGA Tour players.
Stanford commit Megha Ganne
(Holmdel, N.J.) won a three-way playoff for the final qualifying spot at Spring Lake Golf Club in Spring Lake Heights, N.J.
“Today was such a roller coaster and such a long day that I was just trying to stay in it,” said Ganne. “Since there were so many holes to be played, I just wanted to keep my adrenaline up.”
Santa Clara junior Claire Choi
(Honolulu, Hawaii) was in fifth place after an opening 75 at a windy and rainy Oahu (Hawaii) Country Club, but shot a 1-under 69 to jump to the top of the field and medal by two shots.
The 39 competitors at the U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier at Dedham (Mass.) Country & Polo Club were tested across 36 holes in wet conditions and cool temperatures. With just two spots up for grabs, Noémie Paré
(Canada) took an early jump on the field through the first 18 holes and didn’t look back. The low amateur fired a 5-under 65 in the first round and closed out with a 2-over 72 to claim a piece of the medalist honors. This is Paré’s first time qualifying for a USGA event.
“I don’t know how to feel yet,” Paré said. “This is amazing, it’s just the right step in the right direction. I haven’t had time to process it yet, but I just can’t wait to experience the whole thing.”
Paré, a graduate of Ball State University, had a strong season in 2020, with first-place finishes at the Québec Women’s Amateur Championship and the Palm Beach Collegiate Invitational. With hopes of heading to Q-School in the future, qualifying was a strong mark on the resume towards that end.
May 3, 4 and 5
The Atlanta qualifier took three days to complete as weather wreaked havoc on the proceedings. Four inches of rain and a nearby tornado wiped out play and damaged the course.
"The course was so destroyed from all the wind and rain," said competitor Amelia Lewis to Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek. "There were a few trees down and they had to repair the bunkers and everything."
Another 1.1 inches of rain fell on Tuesday, forcing play to a third day as 24 players withdrew from the field.
On Wednesday, play was finally completed, and amateurs swept the three qualifying spots. University of South Carolina senior Ana Pelaez Triviño
(Spain) birdied five of the last six holes to race away from the field and medal by five shots at 8 under. Clemson junior Alexandra Swayne
(Virgin Islands) closed with a 69 to take the second spot at 3 under, and University of Georgia junior Jo Hua Hung
(Chinese Taipei) took the final spot at 2 under.
Duke University junior Gina Kim
(Chapel Hill, N.C.) shot rounds of 71-71 at Mid Pines Inn & GC, and then had to return the next day for a four-way playoff for the final two qualifying spots. Kim birdied the second playoff hole to advance to the championship.
"I am so excited to be able to go to my third U.S. Women's Open and I can't thank my family, Duke athletics, coaches and teammates for all the support they've given me," said Kim. "I look forward to another amazing experience in San Francisco. In the meantime, my focus is on the team and defending our national title so it's going to be an exciting couple of weeks for me!"
At Shannopin CC in Pittsburgh, Pa., University of Kentucky junior Jensen Castle
(W. Columbia, S.C.) won a playoff for the final qualifying spot after rounds of 69-72.
PAC-12 champion Rachel Heck
(Memphis, Tenn.) continued her stellar play at Marin Country Club in Novato, Calif., earning medalist honors by one shot with rounds of 66-70 (-8). She and the other qualifier, high school sophomore Jaclyn LaHa (Pleasanton , Calif.), were four shots clear of the rest of the field.
USC commit Amari Avery
(Riverside, Calif.) was the co-medalist at Brentwood (Calif.) Country Club, with rounds of 74-70 (E). A three way playoff for the final spot could not start until the following morning; once it started it lasted only one hole, with current USC golfer Amelia Garvey
(New Zealand) taking the final qualifying spot.
University of Tulsa junior Lorena Tseng
(Chinese Taipei) shot 70-69 (-5) to beat a strong field by three shots at the Golf Club of Houston (Member Course). Baylor University junior Gurleen Kaur
(Houston, Tex.), a two-time All-American, also qualified with rounds of 72-70. University of Texas commit Bohyun Park
(Farmers Branch, Tex.) also shot 72-70 to make it to the Olympic Club.
Reigning Minnesota Junior Girls' State champion Isabella McCauley
(Inner Grove Heights, Minn.) shot a 143 at Somerset Country Club in Mendota Heights, Minn., to take the second and final qualifying spot.
Amateurs took two of three spots at Bradenton (Fla.) Country Club. University of Florida commit Karoline Tuttle
(Lake Mary, Fla.) shot a 143 while Central Florida sophomore Alyssa Lamoureux
(Orlando, Fla.) shot a 145.
Mississippi State sophomore Abbey Daniel
(Covington, La.) shot rounds of 71-68—139 to finish at 7-under par Thursday at the par-73 Kishwaukee Country Club, topping a field of 50 players. In 2015, Daniel became the first female from Louisiana to compete at Augusta National Golf Club when she took part in that year’s Drive, Chip and Putt competition.
is on a pretty good run this spring. The Oklahoma State sophomore from Sweden has won two college events, finished runner-up in two others, helped the Cowgirls win the Big 12, shot a 69 at Augusta National in the ANWA, and now has medaled in the U.S. Women's Open qualifier at Old Hickory GC in St. Peters, Missouri. Stark won the qualifier by four shots with a score of 142.
This will be the second straight appearance for Stark in the championship. Last December, she finished T13 at Champions Golf Club in Houston.
Two amateurs advanced through the qualifier at Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, Virginia. Aneka Seumanutafa
, a sophomore at Ohio State University and a U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist in 2019, shot a 144 to take medalist honors by one shot. Virginia Tech senior Emily Mahar
of Australia won a three-way playoff for the final spot, and is only the second golfer in program history to qualify.
Despite winning the NCAA title in 2017 and representing the USA on the Curtis Cup team, Monica Vaughn
never played on the LPGA, instead opting to coach in college. The University of Oregon assistant coach showed that she still has it, winning the U.S. Women's Open qualifier at the OGA Golf Course (Wood burn, Ore.) by two shots with a score of 134.
"I kind of felt like after I won the national championship in 2017 that was truly kind of the peak and the pinnacle," said Vaughn to Julie Williams of Golfweek. "I didn’t really know what my golf goals were after that."
"To go out and do this, definitely a top, top moment of my golf career."
The first amateur to make the 2021 U.S. Women's Open field was Chihiro Kogure
of Japan, who shot 149 at Yokohama (Japan) Country Club, and advanced through a 3-for-2 playoff with two professionals.