FAR HILLS, N.J. – Salem Country Club in Peabody, Mass., has been selected by the United States Golf Association as the host site for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open Championship. The dates for the championship, which will be the sixth USGA championship hosted by Salem, are June 29-July 2.
“The USGA is delighted to return to Salem Country Club and the New England region,” said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Salem Country Club was a demanding and competitive test for the best senior players in 2001, and the club is associated with two of the USGA’s greatest champions in Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Hollis Stacy. We expect an enthusiastic setting for conducting a successful 2017 U.S. Senior Open.”
The club was established in 1895 when 12 Salem residents organized the Salem Golf Club. Donald Ross designed the Salem Country Club course, which opened for play in 1925. Considered one of Ross’ finest works, it sits on the former Sanders Farm in the Peabody countryside and is anchored by a classic colonial clubhouse.
“Salem Country Club is pleased and honored that the U.S. Senior Open Championship will return to our demanding and storied course in 2017,” said William H. Sheehan III, general chairman of the 2017 U.S. Senior Open. “Our entire membership looks forward to welcoming many of the game’s greatest players, the tens of thousands of golf enthusiasts who will be in attendance and the millions who will be watching on television.”
Salem hosted the 2001 U.S. Senior Open, when Bruce Fleisher defeated Gil Morgan and Isao Aoki by one stroke. Fleisher, runner-up in the previous year’s Senior Open to Hale Irwin, shot a 2-under 68 in the final round that included 12 consecutive pars to finish the championship at even-par 280. During the final nine holes of the championship, five other players, including Aoki and Jack Nicklaus, the 1991 and 1993 Senior Open champion, were tied for the lead at even par. The 33 years between Fleisher’s two USGA victories (1968 U.S. Amateur, 2001 Senior Open) is the second-longest span in USGA championship history, behind Marvin “Vinny” Giles’ 37 years.
“The City of Peabody is extremely proud to be the host city for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open Championship,” said Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. “Golfers and spectators alike can expect the very best of accommodations, dining options, shopping and recreational opportunities that our friendly and welcoming community has to offer.”
Two of the greatest players in golf history have captured the U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Salem. Babe Didrikson Zaharias claimed her third Women’s Open in 1954 in memorable fashion. Zaharias was just months removed from surgery for colon cancer, and the disease would claim her life two years later, yet her four-round total of 291 was 12 strokes better than her nearest competitor. She remains the championship’s oldest winner at age 43. In 1984, Hollis Stacy also won her third U.S. Women’s Open at Salem with a final-round 69 that provided her with an overall total of 2-over 290 and a one-stroke victory over Rosie Jones.
Salem also hosted the 1932 U.S. Women’s Amateur and 1977 U.S. Senior Amateur championships. Virginia Van Wie won the first of three consecutive Women’s Amateur titles by defeating six-time USGA champion Glenna Collett Vare, 10 and 8, in the final. Dale Morey recorded his second U.S. Senior Amateur championship with a 4-and-3 victory over Lewis W. Oehmig.
The U.S. Senior Open will be the 57th USGA championship held in Massachusetts. In 2016, Wellesley Country Club will host the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
The U.S. Senior Open Championship was first played in 1980. The championship is open to any professional and amateur golfer who is 50 years of age with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4. In 2014, the U.S. Senior Open Championship will be played July 10-13 at Oak Tree National, in Edmond, Okla. The 2015 championship is scheduled for June 25-28 at Del Paso Country Club, in Sacramento, Calif. The 2016 championship will be contested at Scioto Country Club, in Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 11-14.