Pine Needles Adds to Rich Competitive History With 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open
Resort honored to be named second host site for the event, which will make its debut in 2018
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. – Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club has an abundant history in women’s golf, having held three U.S. Women’s Opens, one U.S. Girls’ Junior and one U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur.
So when the USGA decided to create a new U.S. Senior Women’s Open, it made perfect sense to award one of the first two to the course owned by LPGA founding member and Hall of Fame instructor Peggy Kirk Bell.
The USGA announced Saturday that Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., and Pine Needles will be the host sites of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship in 2018 and ’19, respectively.
The event at Pine Needles will follow Women’s Opens in 1996 won by Annika Sorenstam, in 2001 by Karrie Webb and 2007 by Cristie Kerr, as well as the 1989 Girls’ Junior and ’91 Women’s Senior Amateur. Pine Needles was also the site of the 1972 Titleholders, an event at one point in its history was the distaff equivalent of the Masters.
The championship will be contested on the 1928 Donald Ross-designed Pine Needles course that was restored in 2004 by John Fought. It will be played from May 16-19 and contestants will play on Bermuda greens that will be installed in the summer of 2016.
“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.
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 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 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.
About Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club / Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club
Nestled in the fragrant pine forest of North Carolina, you will find an experience unlike any other. For nearly a century, golfers have reveled in the serene ambiance of Pine Needles and Mid Pines Resorts. Two 18-hole Donald Ross designed golf courses have earned us our place among the country’s best golf resorts – and one to which our guests and USGA Championships return to time and again. We deliver brilliant golf paired with southern hospitality in a casual atmosphere right here in beautiful North Carolina. For more information, visit http://www.pineneedles-midpines.com/.
Read more on the U.S. Senior Women’s Open: 2018, 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Sites Unveiled