U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Nine Players to Watch for 55th U.S. Senior Women's Amateur September 14, 2016 | Wellesley, Mass. By David Shefter, USGA

Ellen Port is seeking a third U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and seventh USGA championship this week. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Home

The best 50-and-over female golfers will gather at Wellesley Country Club this week for the 55th U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. The Donald Ross design, which has been renovated over the years by Wayne Stiles and Geoffrey Cornish, celebrated its centennial in 2010. This will be the second USGA championship hosted by Wellesley, following the 2003 Women’s State Team Championship won by Ohio.

The 132 competitors will play two rounds of stroke play this weekend, with the low 64 advancing to match play beginning on Monday. The 18-hole championship match is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22.

Here are nine players to watch on the eve of the championship:

Karen Garcia: Eight golfers have successfully defended their U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur titles, but since the championship switched to match play in 1997, only three golfers – Carol Semple Thompson, Diane Lang and Ellen Port – have managed to accomplish the feat. Garcia, a 53-year-old high school guidance counselor from Cool, Calif., rallied to beat Pam Kuong, 1 up, in last year’s championship match at Hillwood Country Club in Nashville, Tenn. Garcia didn’t take up the game until after college. This will be her 10th USGA championship.

Robin Burke: A veteran of USGA championships, Burke, 53, of Houston, Texas, was the runner-up to Silvia Cavalleri in the 1997 U.S. Women’s Amateur and was a member of the 1998 USA Curtis Cup Team. The wife of former Masters champion Jackie Burke Jr. also captained the USA Curtis Cup Team in June at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club in Ireland, a Match the Americans lost despite a strong showing in singles on Sunday. A few weeks after the Senior Women’s Amateur, Burke will be inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.

Macarena Campomanes: The 52-year-old from Spain is making her USGA championship debut after earning an exemption into the Senior Women’s Amateur by winning this year’s European Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. Campomanes, the only golfer from Europe in the championship, also represented Spain in the 1986 and 1992 Women’s World Amateur Team Championships in Caracas, Venezuela, and Vancouver, Canada, respectively.

Laura Coble: The 52-year-old Georgian has been a member of three winning sides in the USGA Women’s State Team Championship, but is still searching for that elusive individual title. In 2012, she advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, losing to eventual winner Meghan Stasi. She also is a four-time quarterfinalist in the event. In 2013, Coble was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

Leigh Klasse: Much like Laura Coble, Klasse, 56, of Surprise, Ariz., is a USGA championship veteran still seeking her first individual championship. She did help Minnesota win the 2001 USGA Women’s State Team Championship at Wayhill Country Club in Wayzata, Minn., but has not advanced beyond the Round of 16 in 43 USGA championship appearances. She was the stroke-play medalist in the 2010 Senior Women’s Amateur.

Brenda Corrie-Kuehn: It has been quite a summer for the 52-year-old from Asheville, N.C. In July, she watched her daughter, Rachel, compete in the U.S. Girls’ Junior and this fall, the 1998 USA Curtis Cup Team member qualified for a pair of USGA championships. Kuehn was pregnant with Rachel when she competed in the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles. The 1986 graduate of Wake Forest University, who has competed in a number of USGA events over the past 40 years, was the runner-up to Ellen Port in the 1995 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

Martha Leach: In 2009, the 54-year-old resident of Hebron, Ky., broke through and won her first USGA title (U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur). The sister of World Golf Hall of Famer and six-time USGA champion Hollis Stacy also was the runner-up to Ellen Port in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. Leach, who grew up in Savannah, Ga., has been competing in USGA events since she was a quarterfinalist in the 1978 U.S. Girls’ Junior. Last November, she was inducted into the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame.

Ellen Port: Few can match the amateur accomplishments of the 54-year-old native Missourian. Port, who resides in St. Louis and is the head women’s golf coach at NCAA Division III Washington University, owns four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur titles and is the last person to successfully defend in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur (2012-13). Port represented the USA on two Curtis Cup Teams (1994 and 1996) and captained the 2014 side to victory at St. Louis Country Club.

Pamela Kuong: If you’re looking for a local favorite, then the 55-year-old resident of Wellesley Hills, Mass., might be it. Kuong, a senior vice president for a major bank, advanced to the championship match last year before losing to Garcia, 1 down. The 1983 Ohio Wesleyan graduate is a three-time club champion at nearby Charles River Country Club, which served as the second stroke-play co-host venue for the 2013 U.S. Amateur, and was the 2008 and 2010 Massachusetts Women’s Amateur champion. She also is a three-time New England Senior Women’s Amateur champion.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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