A field of 78 competitors including 12 former Ladies European Tour champions will tee up in international qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, at Buckinghamshire Golf Club on Monday, 19th May, 2014.
With 21 nationalities represented on the entry list, the strength of the home nation is highlighted by the participation of 24 English golfers with former Ladies European Tour winners Melissa Reid, Holly Clyburn and Rebecca Hudson in the mix.
Also from Great Britain, there are seven Scottish players, including two-time LET winner Carly Booth, along with four players from Wales, including Lydia Hall, who won the ISPS HANDA Ladies British Masters at the venue in 2012.
The additional past winners in the field include Diana Luna and Veronica Zorzi of Italy, Swede Linda Wessberg, Ann-Kathrin Lindner of Germany, Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord and Sophie Giquel-Bettan of France.
This is the first year that the United States Golf Association (USGA) has introduced international sectional qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which will be conducted June 19-22, 2014, at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2) in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
International qualifying will be held at four sites on Monday, May 19 and Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, England, will be the only international qualifying venue outside Asia. The number of qualification spots will be determined on the day of the qualifier and published in the tournament office, with a play-off for the final spot in the case of a tie.
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 honoured to host the inaugural Women’s 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. Women’s 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 Women’s Open champions.”
Melissa Reid commented: “I think it’s fantastic that European international qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England. The course is spectacular and will make a fantastic qualifying venue for this significant and historic event, which is the longest-running tournament in women’s professional golf.”
Winner of the 2012 ISPS HANDA Ladies British Masters, Lydia Hall, said: “It was a dream come true to earn my first professional victory at Buckinghamshire Golf Club and I am very happy to be returning to play at the venue. It would be tremendous to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open, which is one of the most coveted titles in women’s golf.”
The 69th U.S. Women’s Open is particularly significant, as in 2014 both the men’s and women’s national championship will be played on the same course in back-to-back weeks for the first time at Pinehurst No. 2.
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, who this year will defend the title she won in 2013.