The momentum from last year's highly successful U.S. Women's Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 2 continues, as a record 1,873 competitors have submitted entry applications to the USGA to play in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.
It is the second consecutive year that the U.S. Women's Open has set an entry record. The previous mark of 1,702 came in 2014, when the U.S. Women's Open was played immediately following the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. It also marks the ninth time since 2004 that the championship has accepted a record number of entries. Among this year’s total are 96 fully exempt players, including 11 Women’s Open champions.
“The United States Golf Association is proud to again have accepted record entries for the U.S. Women’s Open, which is an indicator of the growing strength of and interest in the women’s game,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "We have received tremendous support for this championship from Lancaster Country Club, as well as the residents and businesses in the greater Lancaster area. We look forward to bringing the championship, the pinnacle of women’s golf, to this classic course.”
To be eligible for the U.S. Women’s Open, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 2.4, or be a professional. Sectional qualifying will be conducted over 36 holes between May 9 and June 15. Qualifying will be held at 21 sites in the United States, as well as four international sites, in the People’s Republic of China, England, the Republic of Korea and Japan.
Michelle Wie, who captured the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, is one of 11 fully exempt champions. Wie is joined by Na Yeon Choi (2012), Paula Creamer (2010), Laura Davies (1987), Eun-Hee Ji (2009), Cristie Kerr (2007), Birdie Kim (2005), Se Ri Pak (1998), Inbee Park (2008, 2013), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001). Twenty-five of the exempt players have combined to win 31 USGA championships, including four of the last five U.S. Women’s Amateurs – Kristen Gillman (2014), world No. 1 Lydia Ko (2012) and Danielle Kang (2010, 2011).
The USGA accepted entries for the 70th U.S. Women’s Open from golfers in 49 states (all except Maine) and 54 foreign countries. Of the United States entries, California had the most with 294, followed by Florida with 275 and Texas with 143. Of the foreign entries, 191 were received from Japanese players, followed by Korea with 94 and Canada with 61. For the second consecutive year, 10-year-old Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, Fla., was the championship’s youngest entrant. The oldest entrant is Debby Pinnell, 64, of Leland, N.C.
Sally Watson, a professional from Scotland who played on the 2008 and 2010 Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup Teams, was the first applicant when entries opened on Wednesday, March 4. Amateur Lauren Atkinson, of Bow, Wash., submitted the championship’s final entry approximately six minutes before entries closed on Wednesday, May 6.
There are still several ways for players to gain an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Open. The winner of the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and any other LPGA co-sponsored events prior to the start of the U.S. Women’s Open will earn exemptions. Additionally, the top 50 point leaders and ties from the Rolex Rankings as of July 5 will be added to the exempt list, provided they were not previously exempt into the championship.
More information about the U.S. Women’s Open before, during and after the 2015 championship is available at uswomensopen.com.
The following 96 golfers are fully exempt into the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open (as of May 6):
Sun Ju Ahn
Na Yeon Choi
In Gee Chun
Yoon Kyung Heo
Mi Jung Hur
Ha Na Jang
Hyo Joo Kim
Sei Young Kim
Jung Min Lee
Mi Hyang Lee
Se Ri Pak
Hee Young Park
So Yeon Ryu
Dewi Claire Schreefel
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
Sun Young Yoo
Bold – U.S. Women’s Open champion