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USGA to Institute International Qualifying for U.S. Women's Open

  (March 03, 2014)
USGA to Institute International Qualifying for U.S. Women's Open

Far Hills, NJ (PRWEB) March 03, 2014

In recognition of the global growth and strength of womens golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) will introduce international qualifying for the U.S. Womens Open Championship, beginning in 2014. This expansion of the Womens Open qualifying process represents further demonstration of the USGAs dedication to enhancing and elevating its national championships, while making the game more accessible to players and diverse cultures around the world.

The 2014 U.S. Womens Open will be conducted June 19-22 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

The USGA has long been committed to presenting the U.S. Womens Open as the premier event in international womens golf, said USGA President Thomas J. OToole Jr. With the addition of international qualifying, we are happy to expand the championship field to include more of the very best players from across the globe. We extend many thanks to our friends and partners around the world for their efforts in helping us accomplish this mission.


Fourteen foreign-born players have won the U.S. Womens Open a total of 18 times, including two-time and defending champion Inbee Park, of the Republic of Korea. Fay Crocker, of Uruguay, won the 1955 U.S. Womens Open, becoming the first international winner in championship history. In recent years, international players have dominated the leader board, taking seven of the last nine championships and 13 of the last 19. Players from Korea have won five of the last six championships.

Officials from the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Association, the Korea Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour will conduct international qualifying for the U.S. Womens Open, which will be held at four sites on Monday, May 19. Asia will have three qualifying sites CGA Nanshan International Training Centre (Garden Course) in the Peoples Republic of China, Higashi Nagoya Country Club in Japan and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea. Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England will host European qualifying.

CGA Nanshan International Training Centre opened in 2008 and was designed by IMG Design. The Garden Course hosted the 2011-13 OneAsia Nanshan China Masters, and served as host site for the 2013 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

Golf is a very popular sport in China, and we are very happy to have a U.S. Womens Open qualifying site in our home country, with the joint effort made by the USGA and the CGA, said Zhang Xiaoning, vice president and secretary general of the China Golf Association. This will definitely promote the development of womens golf in China and broaden the influence of the China LPGA Tour. We truly appreciate the help and support from the USGA toward the development of golf in China and we certainly hope that more USGA events will come into China in the future, providing opportunities to Chinese female golfers and hopefully allowing more Chinese women to succeed, like what Shanshan Feng achieved in her professional golf career.

Buckinghamshire Golf Club was designed by two-time European Ryder Cup Captain John Jacobs and opened in 1992. Since 2012, Buckinghamshire has been the home of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters. It has also hosted numerous European and European Senior Tour events, and is the site of the Ladies European Tour home offices.

We are honored to host the inaugural Womens Open qualifying opportunity in Europe, said Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, chief executive officer of the Ladies European Tour. Our players are equally thrilled that the USGA has brought championship qualifying to the United Kingdom and abroad. European players have a strong history of success at the U.S. Womens Open, and we hope that Laura Davies, Catherine Lacoste, Liselotte Neumann, Alison Nicholas and Annika Sorenstam will soon have another European counterpart on the list of Womens Open champions.

Higashi Nagoya Country Club was designed by Giichi Sato and opened in 1964. It has hosted several Japanese national championships, including the 1985 Japan Open, the 1993 Japan Womens Open and the 2012 Japan Senior Open.

We are very pleased that the USGA is bringing U.S. Womens Open qualifying to Japan, said Taizo Kawata of the Japan Golf Association. With players like Ai Miyazato and Ayako Okamoto as role models, more and more Japanese women are learning the game of golf. We hope that this chance to compete in the top event in womens golf provides even more opportunities to our players.

Woo Jeong Hills Country Club was designed by Perry Dye and opened in 1993. Since 2003, it has been the host site of the Kolon Korea Open.

Since Se Ri Paks historic victory in 1998, Korean women have enjoyed tremendous success at the U.S. Womens Open and across professional golf, said Kwang-soo Hur, president of the Korea Golf Association. We are very happy that more Korean players will have the opportunity to try to qualify for this most prestigious championship.

Also, effective in 2014, the USGA Handicap Index® limit for the U.S. Womens Open has been lowered to 2.4 from 4.4. The change comes in recognition of the rapid and tremendous growth of womens amateur golf, and will serve to strengthen the 69th U.S. Womens Open field.

The Handicap Index limit was set at 4.4 for the 1972 U.S. Womens Open, and has remained unchanged. Since then, more than 350 amateur golfers have qualified for the championship, including future winners Paula Creamer, Kathy (Baker) Guadagnino, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Murle Lindstrom, Hilary Lunke, Inbee Park, Annika Sorenstam and Hollis Stacy. Four amateurs have finished second: Nancy Lopez (1975); Jenny Chuasiriporn (1998, in a playoff); and Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel (2005). Catherine Lacoste (1967) is the only amateur player to win the Womens Open.

Considered the worlds premier womens golf championship, the U.S. Womens Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. It is open to professional female golfers and amateur females with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 2.4. The championship was first conducted in 1946 and boasts an impressive list of winners, including Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Hollis Stacy, Amy Alcott, Meg Mallon, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Inbee Park.

About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Womens Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGAs reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.

The USGA is one of the worlds foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the games history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing For the Good of the Game grants program. Additionally, the USGAs Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA, visit http://www.usga.org.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11631883.htm.


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