The USGA Women’s State Team Championship, in 1995, like the men’s version, grew out of the celebration of the Association’s Centennial and was fashioned after the biennial World Amateur Team Championship.
Each state was invited to send its three best players, and 43 states sent women’s teams to compete for the new title at the Lake Buena Vista (Fla.) Club. State associations were given the option to choose their teams by any method, with one restriction: college players were ineligible because of NCAA bylaws. The NCAA rule states that a player may only play in an international team match when that team is sponsored by the national governing body, such as the Curtis Cup, or the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship. Any infraction of that rule means the college player is faced with being declared ineligible for the remainder of the season and the following season.
As a result, the field for the Women’s State Team Championship was made up almost entirely of midamateur and senior players. Some states used a point system to select the three-woman team. Others used the top finishers in their state championships or conducted qualifying tournaments. A few states employed a selection committee to determine team members.
Just as in the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, the Women’s State Team Championship format meant that only the best two scores of each state’s three players were counted on each of three days.
The winning team in the inaugural championship was from Pennsylvania and was made up of Liz Haines of
Gladwyne, Judy Oliver of Sewickley, and Carol Semple Thompson, also of Sewickley. Oliver and Thompson have both played for the United States of America in the Curtis Cup Match. The competition was close, as Pennsylvania’s score of 442 edged the Texas team by only one stroke.
While no individual prizes were awarded, Toni Wiesner of Fort Worth, Texas, and Lancy Smith of Snyder, N.Y., recorded the lowest individual scores. Each scored 219 for 54 holes, three over par.
The first Women’s State Team Championship proved to be such a popular competition that the decision was made to conduct the championship every two years.