Four spots in inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at stake in qualifying tourney at CommonGround
by Gary Baines
It turns out that the hurdle for being a part of history isn’t set so high as to be discouraging.
At least that’s the case for golfers trying to qualify in Colorado for the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
When CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora hosts the Colorado-based qualifier for the event on Tuesday, four players out of a field of 24 will advance to the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open ever held. And there will be three alternates — a change from the typical two for most USGA qualifying events.
The inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open is scheduled for July 12-15 at Chicago Golf Club, which is currently ranked No. 14 among Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Chicago GC is one of the nation’s oldest 18-hole courses.
The field for Tuesday’s qualifier at CommonGround features many accomplished competitors: Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Janet Moore; Denver native Lori West, who posted six top-10s on the LPGA Tour; former Colorado Women’s Open champions Dawne Kortgaard, Shelly Rule and Shannon Hanley; Coloradan Sherry Andonian-Smith, who finished second in the senior division of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals National Championship in September, earning a spot in the 2018 Senior LPGA Championship in the process; Elena Callas King, longtime instructor at CommonGround who was named among the top 50 LPGA teachers worldwide by the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals membership; part-time Colorado resident Marilyn Hardy, a past semifinalist in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur; former CWGA Stroke Play winner Kristine Franklin; and past CWGA Senior Match Play and Senior Stroke Play champion Deb Hughes.
Already in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open field is part-time Colorado resident Hollis Stacy, a World Golf Hall of Famer and three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion. The 64-year-old has a 10-year exemption by virtue of winning a U.S. Women’s Open title. Only four women have won more USGA national titles than has Stacy (6): JoAnne Gunderson Carner (8); Anne Quast Sander (7); Carol Semple Thompson (7); and Ellen Port (7).
“I will be playing, (trying) not to make a mess of it,” Stacy wrote to coloradogolf.org in an email earlier this year.
For Tuesday’s pairings at CommonGround, CLICK HERE.