The USGA has conducted two previous championships at Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich., and both of the U.S. Women’s Opens played there were won by Hall of Fame players: Betsy King (1989) and Patty Sheehan (1994).
In the 1989 Women’s Open, King went wire to wire to win the championship by four strokes over Nancy Lopez.
King took charge on the first day by shooting a 4-under 67, and retained a three-stroke advantage at the halfway point. King faltered near the end of the third round as Patty Sheehan pulled into a tie with her at 3-under-par 210.
King birdied four of her first nine holes of the fourth round to regain a comfortable lead. She and Lopez shot final rounds of 68, while the best round of the championship belonged to Ayako Okamoto, who tied for 11th. Okamoto shot a 65 in the final round.
The victory was King’s fifth of the season. Lopez, who would never win a Women’s Open, finished runner-up for the third of her record four times. King would go on to win back-to-back titles, overtaking a faltering Patty Sheehan to win by one stroke in 1990 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Vicki Goetze was the low amateur, shooting 300.
In 1994 at Indianwood, four days of patience and perseverance allowed Sheehan to win her second U.S. Women’s Open in three years with a then-record-tying score of 7-under 277. Tammie Green finished one stroke back. Also of note was Helen Alfredsson’s Women’s Open record 63 in the first round, in which she recorded eight birdies. It stands as the lowest round in Women’s Open history.
On the 6,244-yard, par-71 layout, Sheehan never shot a round over par. In the first round, no fewer than 24 players broke par, compared to just three in 1989 at Indianwood.
At the midway point of the championship, Alfredsson led Laura Davies by four strokes and Sheehan and Michelle Estill by five strokes. But Alfredsson struggled on the weekend with rounds of 76-77 to finish eight strokes behind Sheehan.
On the 18th hole of the final round, Green’s 12-foot birdie attempt slipped past the hole, and Sheehan sank a 12-foot par putt to win the championship.
The Western Open, one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour, was also played at Indianwood in 1930, with Gene Sarazen, another Hall of Fame player, capturing the title by seven strokes over Al Espinosa.
Compiled by Ken Klavon, USGA