Historic Women's Tournament Tees Off this Week in Seattle

The 90th annual Washington State Women's Golf Association Amateur Championship started Monday, July 30, at Sand Point Country Club in Seattle. Founded in 1922 - with the inaugural event held at Grays Harbor Golf Club in Aberdeen, the tournament is the first organized women's championship in Washington State and one of the oldest in the U.S.

Founded in 1927 and one of the early member clubs of the WSWGA, Sand Point held the event in 1939. The most recent time it served as host was in 1986.

Among the players who've competed in and won the WSWGA title are some of America's top amateurs. Tacoma's Pat Lesser Harbottle, the champion in both the 1950 U.S. Girls' Amateur and 1955 U.S. Amateur, won the WSWGA title in 1952 and 1974. Judy Hoetmer, daughter of Sand Point's long-time head pro Johnny Hoetmer, and 1961 Women's National Collegiate champion in 1961, won the WSWGA in 1964 and '71.

Anne (Quast) Sander, a three-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion and four-time U.S. Senior Women's Amateur winner, took the WSWGA title in 1955 and '56.

One of the Pacific Northwest's most decorated amateurs, Ann Swanson, winner of the 1992 National Women's Club Championship and numerous other titles, is a nine-time winner of the WSWGA. The long-time Sand Point member is serving as the hostess for this year's five-day tournament.

Interestingly, the best WSWGA finish by the great JoAnne (Gunderson) Carner, a 42-time LPGA Tour winner and the only woman in history to have won the U.S. Junior Girls', U.S. Women's Amateur (five times) and U.S. Open (twice), was runner-up to Sander in 1955.

The lineup of recent winners is also impressive. Rainier Golf & Country Club is well represented by defending champion Leslie Folsom - a five-time winner (2003, '05, '07, '08 and '11) and Jane Harris (2002, '10). Mimi Racicot of Everett Country Club (1984, '86 and '91) is a three-time champion.

With the exception of a few years, a Senior Division champion has also been crowned since 1974, with Swanson winning three straight titles from 2003-05.

Tournament Background and Format

Between 1922 and 1933, players from both private clubs and public courses competed in the WSWGA Championship. In 1933, the women from the public courses developed their own organization and since then the WSWGA has been played solely by women members of the state's private clubs.

The tournament's first day of stroke play was completed Monday (see below for the 16-player championship flight), with subsequent rounds match-play only. The event will conclude Friday - August 3 - with a 36-hole championship match.

After the first round of stroke play, the following players qualified for the 16-player championship flight:

Denise Kieffer, Fircrest - 77
Gretchen Klein, Grays Harbor - 77
Cassie McKinley, Seattle - 77
Dona Dunovant, Walla Walla - 79
Leslie Folsom, Rainier - 79
Sharon Drummey, Rainier - 80
Flora Weeks , Overlake - 80
Jane Harris, Rainier - 81
Katie Kintner, Everett - 81
Nancy Elgin, Yakima Elks - 82
Linda Spear, Everett - 82
Jenny Park, Skagit - 82
Cathy Uptain, Mill Creek - 82
Robin Cole, Yakima - 83
Denise Jeffries, Bellingham - 83
Sue Ursino, Sahalee - 83

There will be an additional four flights (based on handicap index) of competition for the remainder of the field. For additional information and scoring updates, visit http://thewswga.com/home.