The United States Golf Association today announced that it has accepted a record number of entries for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, to be conducted at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. The 1,420 entries surpasses the 1,364 entries accepted in 2012 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., and marks the 10th consecutive year the number of entries for the championship has exceeded 1,000.
"We are very proud to have a record number of entries for the U.S. Women's Open for the second consecutive year," said Thomas J. O'Toole Jr., USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "The USGA has long been dedicated to women's golf, and we wish all the entrants the very best as they attempt to join the celebrated list of Women's Open champions.”
Considered among the premier women’s golf events worldwide, the U.S. Women’s Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA. It is open to professional female golfers and amateur females with a USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 4.4.
The first to file an entry was 14-year-old Sierra Brooks, an amateur from Orlando, Fla., who was one of 100 people to enter on March 4, the first day applications were available. The last to file was 18-year-old amateur Maria Fernanda Villegas, of Chula Vista, Calif., who submitted her entry six minutes before the deadline of 5 p.m. on May 1.
Entries were received from 46 states (all except Alaska, Delaware, Maine and West Virginia) and 44 foreign countries. Players from Canada filed the most foreign entries with 51, followed by Korea (38), Japan (18), Mexico (17) and the People’s Republic of China (16).
“The diverse group of Women’s Open entrants is a testament to the growing international footprint of the game of golf,” said Dot Paluck, chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee. “These women should serve as examples to the next generation of golfers across the world of what can be achieved with hard work and determination.”
Eighty-four golfers are currently fully exempt from sectional qualifying, led by defending champion Na Yeon Choi. Other fully exempt U.S. Women’s Open champions include Paula Creamer (2010), Eun-Hee Ji (2009), Cristie Kerr (2007), Birdie Kim (2005), Se Ri Pak (1998), Inbee Park (2008), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001).
Additionally, World Golf Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster has been granted a special exemption into the 2013 championship by virtue of her distinguished career as a USGA champion. Inkster won the 1999 and 2002 U.S. Women’s Opens, and is one of only five women to win three consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur titles (1980-82).
Players can still earn full exemptions by winning an official LPGA Tour event through the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship (which ends June 23). The winner of the 2013 Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship will earn a full exemption (provided she remains an amateur), as will those who enter the top 25 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as of June 24.
The remainder of the field will be filled via 36-hole sectional qualifying, which will be conducted at 20 sites. Qualifying begins May 7 and runs through May 30.
A list of the 84 golfers who are currently fully exempt into the Women’s Open follows: