Westchester Country Club adds another chapter to its stellar history this year when the USGA brings the 122nd U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship to the difficult West Course of the club. A field of the best amateur women golfers in the world will compete for a gold medal and the Robert Cox trophy in Rye the first week of August.
The quality of the competition shows up in the roster of past champions, which includes legends like Patty Berg, Babe Zaharias, and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, as well as modern stars Grace Park, Morgan Pressel, and Lydia Ko. Rose Zhang of Irvine, CA, defeated defending champion Gabriela Ruffels from Australia to win the title last year at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, MD.
Among this year’s competitors will be WMGA board member Ina Kim-Schaad, who was exempt from qualifying by virtue of her victory at the USGA’s U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in 2019. Women amateur golfers with handicaps of 5.4 or lower can enter the 18-hole qualifying tournaments at 24 courses around the country, including Sunningdale CC in Scarsdale, which will host a qualifier on June 21. Some 1,500 women are expected to vie for a spot in the 156-player field at Westchester CC.
Two rounds of medal play will be con tested Monday and Tuesday, August 2 and 3, to choose 64 players for the match-play rounds beginning Wednesday. The tournament champion will be chosen in a 36-hole match on Sunday, August 8.
Westchester Country Club was an important PGA Tour stop for 44 years and hosted the Senior Players Championship in 2011 and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2015. It was also the site of the 27th rendition of the U.S. Women’s Amateur, held in 1923, a year after the club opened. It was won by Edith Cummings, who defeated Alexa Stirling, 3 and 2. The championship has a long history in Westchester. The fourth edition was held in 1898, at Ardsley CC. Sleepy Hollow CC was the most recent venue in the county, hosting it in 2002.
The tournament will be played on the West Course, where elevation changes and thick stands of trees challenge the mental, as well as physical, skills of the competitors. Four holes on the course — Nos. 2, 3, 6, and 17 — were rated among the toughest on the PGA Tour during the course’s long tenure as a tour stop that saw Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, and many other stars hoist the winner’s trophy. Inbee Park won the 2015 KMPG on the West Course.