Women’s Senior Open for 2019 Adds to Pine Needles’ Heritage
By Lee Pace
Pine Needles has been the venue for six competitions for a national title or a significant professional tour championship over nearly nine decades. It hosted the U.S. Women’s Open in 1996, 2001 and 2007, the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 1989 and Women’s Senior Amateur in 1991. Pine Needles was also the site of the 1972 Titleholders, an LPGA competition that at one point in its history was the distaff equivalent of the Masters.
The course is adding to that illustrious list with the February 2016 announcement that it will be the venue for the second ever U.S. Women’s Senior Open, to be held in May of 2019. The USGA will conduct its inaugural competition for ladies 50 years old and up in 2018 at Chicago Golf Club.
Pine Needles has enjoyed a particular niche among top women golfers since Peggy Kirk Bell, its owner from 1953 through her passing in November 2016, spent a lifetime establishing a reputation as one of golf’s leading ambassadors and a pioneer in teaching the game to women.
“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,” Pine Needles President and CEO Kelly Miller says. “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. 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.