By Ken MacLeod
The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship will return to Southern Hills Country Club in July of 2024. It will be the first time the world’s leading women’s amateur event has been at Southern Hills since 1946, when the legendary Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the event at the south Tulsa venue.
“We’re really pleased to be hosting this event and glad to be renewing our relationship and partnership with the USGA,” said Scott Mabrey, co-chairman of the Tournaments and Traditions Committee at Southern Hills.
This will be the 10thUnited States Golf Association championship to be contested at Southern Hills, including three U.S. Open Championships. It renews a dialogue with the USGA which has shown interest in the complete and well received renovation of the layout by architect Gil Hanse, plus other improvements.
“We would love to host another U.S. Open at some point in the future, but this is not in any way tied to that,” Mabrey said. “The Women’s Amateur is a great event for the club and for the city.”
Southern Hills will be active in showing off its redesign in the near future. It is set to host the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship next May. The Big 12 Championship that was to have been played this spring will return in 2022, and the Trans-Mississippi Amateur Championship in 2023. The PGA Championship is slated in 2030, which will be the club’s eighth major championship.
This will be the first USGA championship in Oklahoma since the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National and the 22ndUSGA championship to be held in the state.
“We are ecstatic for the opportunity to host another U.S. Women’s Amateur, a championship that is not only a staple of amateur golf, but a part of our club’s long history with the USGA,” said Bryan Johnson, Southern Hills club president in a USGA release. “To have the opportunity to continue this legacy, one that began with Babe Didrikson Zaharias winning the championship here, and showcase our course and hospitality to the best amateur players in the world, is something our membership is extremely proud of.”
Southern Hills has also been the site of four PGA Championships, including wins by past U.S. Open champions Tiger Woods in 2007 and Raymond Floyd in 1982. Dave Stockton (1970) and Nick Price (1994) also won PGAs on the course. It was recently announced that Southern Hills will host the PGA for the fifth time in 2030.
“”Southern Hills is such an important part of USGA championship history, from Rotief Goosen’s historic U.S. Open playoff victory in 2001 all the way back to Babe Zaharias winning her only U.S. Women’s Amateur title there in 1946,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “To continue that history at Southern Hills, at a time when the U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the USGA’s fastest growing championships, is a perfect pairing.”
This will be the third time the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship has been held in Oklahoma. In addition to the 1946 event at Southern Hills, the 1960 championship was won by JoAnne Gunderson at Tulsa Country Club.
Woodmont Country Club, in Rockville, Md., will host the 120th U.S. Women’s Amateur, scheduled for Aug. 3-9, 2020. Westchester Country Club, in Rye, N.Y., will be the site in 2021, while The Honors Course will host in 2026.
With 10 USGA championships, Southern Hills is in lofty company. Here are the other clubs to host at least 10 championships.
Most Championships Hosted by a Club
18 – Merion G.C., Ardmore, Pa.
16 – The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
16 – Baltusrol G.C., Springfield, N.J.
16 – Oakmont (Pa.) C.C.
13 – Pebble Beach (Calif.) G.L.
12 – Chicago G.C., Wheaton, Ill.
12 – Winged Foot G.C., Mamaroneck, N.Y.
11 – Oakland Hills C.C., Bloomfield Township, Mich.
10 – Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
10 – The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif.
Previous USGA championships at Southern Hills CC
1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur
Champion – Babe Zaharias
The Babe cruised to victory in a 36-hole final
match against Clara Sherman, winning 11-9
1953 U.S. Junior Amateur
Champion – Rex Baxter, Jr.
A seventeen-year old from Amarillo, Baxter defeated George Warren, III, 2 and 1, with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17thhole in the final match
1958 U.S. Open
Champion – Tommy Bolt
71-71-69-72 = 283
Bolt birdied the opening hole and never looked back, outlasting Gary Player and winning by four
1961 U.S. Senior Amateur
Champion – Dexter Daniels
Daniels, an auto dealer from Florida, defeated Col. William K. Lanman, a retired Marine aviator, 2 and 1 in the final match
1965 U.S. Amateur
Champion – Bob Murphy
73-69-76-73 = 291
In the first Amateur decided by stroke play, 22-year old Bob Murphy held off Oklahoman Bob Dickson to win by one
1977 U.S. Open
Champion – Hubert Green
69-67-72-70 = 278
Using his trademark low hands and quick tempo, Hubert Green prevailed over Open pressure and a death threat to win by one
1987 1stU.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur
Champion – Cindy Scholefield
Cindy Scholefield never passed the 16thhole in six matches and defeated her fellow Californian, Dr. Pat Cornett, 6 and 5, in the final match
2001 U.S. Open
Champion – Retief Goosen
66-70-69-71 = 276
Turning heartache into victory, Retief Goosen rebounded from a missed putt on the 72ndhole to top Mark Brooks by two in an 18-hole playoff
2009 U.S. Amateur
Champion – Byeong-Hun An
“Ben” An became the US Amateur’s youngest winner defeating Ben Martin, 7 and 5, in the final match