The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Tulsa Country Club as the host of the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. The championship will be conducted July 20-25.
"The USGA is looking forward to returning to Tulsa Country Club with the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship," said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "The Tulsa membership and the USGA share a long and proven dedication to sustaining and promoting the game of golf, especially among juniors, and their devotion is further emphasized by hosting this championship."
This will be the third USGA championship conducted at Tulsa Country Club, and the 22nd championship held in the state of Oklahoma. The club previously hosted the 1960 U.S. Women’s Amateur, won by JoAnne Gunderson Carner, and the 2008 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, won by Diane Lang.
"Junior golf at any level represents the future of this great game, and the membership of Tulsa Country Club is extremely honored to have been selected to host the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship," said Kevan Buck, president of Tulsa Country Club. "Our club boasts a proud history of championship golf at the amateur and professional levels, including a longstanding relationship with the USGA, and we are excited to have this opportunity to showcase Tulsa Country Club and the city of Tulsa to the world’s best junior players."
Tulsa Country Club has been at its current location since 1908. The club’s original course was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened for play in 1920, with Jay Morrish leading a course refurbishment project in 1988. Recently, Rees Jones helmed a multi-year redesign that was completed in 2011. The endeavor included the construction of 18 new greens, the addition of 41 bunkers on the par-4 and par-5 holes and the renovation of all teeing grounds, green complexes and bunker surrounds.
The club has a long history of hosting championship golf, starting with the inaugural Oklahoma State Amateur and Oklahoma Open Championships in 1910. Two weeks prior to capturing the 1984 U.S. Senior Open, Miller Barber won the Roy Clark/Skoal Bandit Senior Challenge, a Champions (then Senior) Tour event conducted at Tulsa. In 1999, the club hosted the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, won by a Duke University team that included 1998 U.S. Women’s Open runner-up Jenny Chuasiriporn and 1997 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Beth Bauer. And from 2001-03, the LPGA Tour visited Tulsa Country Club, with Gloria Park, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb taking victories.
This will be the second U.S. Girls’ Junior to be held in Oklahoma. The Oaks Country Club, also in Tulsa, hosted the 1960 championship, which was won by Carol Sorenson. Along with the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, the state will also host the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National in Edmond.
Lew Erickson, a TCC member and a member of the USGA Women’s Committee, led a press conference at the club today to make the announcement.
"Tulsa Country Club had wanted to host another USGA event after the Rees Jones redesign," Erickson said. "After that was done, they sent another invitation to the USGA and received an invitation to consider hosting the U.S. Girls Junior Championship. Tulsa Country Club is delighted to be hosting this tournament. TCC has been hosting important events since it’s inception in 1908. The course is wonderful, it’s really maturing and coming into its own since the renovation."
The announcement heralds a busy two-year stretch for TCC, which will also host the 2014 NCAA Championship May 20-23. Both events will require hundreds of volunteers and each will serve to showcase the progress of junior golf in the U.S.
"Tulsa Country Club has a great tradition of women’s golf and girls junior golf," Erickson said. "This is where Dale McNamara played and Betsy Cullen. We’ve hosted the LPGA. There’s just a great tradition here."
The U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship was first played in 1949 and is open to female amateur golfers who have not reached the age of 18 prior to the close of the championship and who hold a USGA Handicap Index® no higher than 18.4. Notable past champions include Mickey Wright, JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Hollis Stacy, Nancy Lopez, Amy Alcott, Heather Farr, Pat Hurst, Inbee Park, I.K. Kim and Lexi Thompson.
The 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior will be conducted July 22-27 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind., while the 2014 championship will be played at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz., July 21-26.