Posted: May 11, 2015 6:14 pm
The United States Golf Association announced Monday it has accepted a record 1,873 entries for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Lancaster Country Club.
The number surpasses the previous mark of 1,702 set in 2014 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C. The entry record was broken for the ninth time since 2004.
Among this year’s total are 96 fully exempt players, including 11 Women’s Open champions.
“The United States Golf Association is proud to again have accepted record entries for the U.S. Women’s Open, which is an indicator of the growing strength of and interest in the women’s game,” said Diana Murphy, USGA chairman of the Championship Committee.
“We have received tremendous support for this championship from Lancaster Country Club, as well as the residents and businesses in the greater Lancaster area. We look forward to bringing the championship, the pinnacle of women’s golf, to this classic course.”
To be eligible for the U.S. Women’s Open, a player must have a handicap not exceeding 2.4, or be a professional. Sectional qualifying will be conducted over 36 holes between May 9 and June 15.
Qualifying began Saturday, with a 36-hole sectional at Ka’anapali Golf Resort in Maui. Sixteen players competed for just one spot, which was won by high school junior Mariel Galdiano of Pearl City, Hi. Galdiano, who played in the Open last year and has won three Hawaii state high-school championships, shot 76-73-149.
Twenty more qualifiers will be held in the United States, as well as four international sites, in the People’s Republic of China, England, the Republic of Korea and Japan.
Michelle Wie, who captured the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, is one of 11 fully exempt champions. Wie is joined by Na Yeon Choi (2012), Paula Creamer (2010), Laura Davies (1987), Eun-Hee Ji (2009), Cristie Kerr (2007), Birdie Kim (2005), Se Ri Pak (1998), Inbee Park (2008, 2013), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001).
Twenty-five of the exempt players have combined to win 31 USGA championships, including four of the last five U.S. Women’s Amateurs – Kristen Gillman (2014), world No. 1 Lydia Ko (2012) and Danielle Kang (2010, 2011).
Entries came from 49 states (all except Maine) and 54 foreign countries. Of the United States entries, California had the most with 294, followed by Florida with 275 and Texas with 143.
Of the foreign entries, 191 were received from Japanese players, followed by Korea with 94 and Canada with 61.
For the second consecutive year, 10-year-old Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, Fla., was the championship’s youngest entrant. The oldest entrant is Debby Pinnell, 64, of Leland, N.C.
Sally Watson, a professional from Scotland who played on the 2008 and 2010 Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup Teams, was the first applicant when entries opened on Wednesday, March 4. Amateur Lauren Atkinson, of Bow, Wash., submitted the championship’s final entry approximately six minutes before entries closed on Wednesday, May 6.
There are still several ways to earn an exemption. The winner of this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and any other LPGA tour events prior to the start of the U.S. Women’s Open will earn exemptions. The top 50 point leaders and ties from the Rolex Rankings as of July 5 will be added to the exempt list, provided they were not previously exempt into the championship.
The following 96 golfers are fully exempt into the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open (as of May 6):
|Sun Ju Ahn
Na Yeon Choi
In Gee Chun
Yoon Kyung Heo
Mi Jung Hur
Ha Na Jang
Hyo Joo Kim
Sei Young Kim
Jung Min Lee
Mi Hyang Lee
Se Ri Pak
Hee Young Park
So Yeon Ryu
Dewi Claire Schreefel
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Sun Young Yoo
Bold – U.S. Women’s Open champion