In 2008 Tiffany Joh outlasted 63 players — including her teammate — to take the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at Erin Hills.

5.8.19

Eight Times Women’s Golf Took Center Stage in Wisconsin

by Steve Pease

It’s official: Wisconsin has become a prime travel destination for avid golfers. In 2025, however, it will be a can’t-miss destination for the top 156 players in women’s golf.

Erin Hills has been selected to host the 80th U.S. Women’s Open Championship in 2025. Building on the success of a thrilling U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in 2008, a future-star studded U.S. Amateur Championship in 2011, and the U.S. Open Championship in 2017 that catapulted the career of its champion, Erin Hills will be the setting for the ultimate test in women’s golf in 2025.

Here are eight memorable moments in women’s Badger State golf history:

Ice cream and match play: Two days after Tiger Woods’s drama-filled 2008 U.S. Open Monday playoff victory over Rocco Mediate (and a week before Inbee Park won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at the age of 19), the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links became the first USGA championship held at Erin Hills. Playing to a then par 73 (it’s since been revised to a par 72), Erin Hills hosted 64 of the world’s best amateur women over a rolling, 6,158-yard set up. Tiffany Joh (winner of the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links as well) was already one of the nation’s top amateurs after a stellar season at UCLA when she arrived at Erin Hills. In the Round of 32, Joh drew teammate and close friend Sydnee Michaels. On the eve of their match, the two dined with their mothers and drove through McDonalds for an ice cream sundae. Michaels, one car in front, paid the cashier an extra 50 cents to have her tell Joh, “I’m rooting for Sydnee.” While it’s not clear whether the ice cream comments motivated Joh, she defeated Michaels 3 and 2 and went on to top Jennifer Song in the final, 2 and 1. Notably, Joh trailed Song until the 33rd hole in the 36-hole match play finale before prevailing. Joh still plays professionally on the LPGA Tour.

Future sites: The U.S. Women’s Open received 1,552 entries (from 47 states and 62 countries) for the 2019 Championship being held at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). The 72-hole stroke-play Championship — open to those with a 2.4 Handicap Index<sup® or below — will be comprised of 156 professional and amateur qualifiers attempting to unseat 2018 winner Ariya Jutanugarn. The USGA accepted a record 1,873 entries for the 2015 championship at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club, which surpassed the previous mark of 1,702 set in 2014 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club’s Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. The USGA has announced Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas as the site of the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, followed by The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif. (2021), Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. (2022), Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links (2023) and Lancaster Country Club (2024). The 2025 U.S. Women’s Open will be the fifth USGA championship conducted at Erin Hills.

Sherri claws back: Sherri Steinhauer’s game exemplified the importance of fairways & greens. At the 2006 Women’s British Open, Steinhauer had a run of some 48 holes without a bogey — a display of ball striking that would, in the end, earn her a Women’s British Open title at the age of 43. The feat made her the second-oldest female major winner. “It just felt like it was my turn to win out there,” ESPN.com reported. “I tried to just hit fairways and greens and stay out of trouble. This kind of golf suits my game.” Interestingly, she found herself on the same course — Royal Lytham & St Annes — nearly a decade earlier, down big after a first-round 81. What do you think she did? The Madison, WI-native clawed her way back into the championship, carding a final round 69 and taking the 1998 Women’s British Open by a stroke. At least one member of her family reportedly saw the writing on the wall: “Last night I called my parents and my dad said, ‘Wouldn’t it be something for someone who shot 81 the first day to go and win the tournament?’ I just laughed.” All the way to the winner’s circle, that is.

Se Ri inspires: You may know the first women’s major championship held in Wisconsin was the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Blackwolf Run (Championship Composite Course). The 1998 U.S. Women’s Open came down to two 20-year-olds battling it out in a Monday playoff. Se Ri Pak took the championship with a birdie on the 92nd hole, becoming the youngest woman (at the time) to win the U.S. Open, according to the USGA. The U.S. Women’s Open returned to the Blackwolf Run in July 2012 and was won by Na Yeon Choi of South Korea. Na Yeon Choi said she watched Se Ri Pak’s historic victory at Blackwolf Run in 1998 – a win that inspired Na Yeon Choi to take up the game of golf.

Record, broken: While Wisconsin has a storied history of high-level women’s performances, the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic — held at Thornberry Creek at Oneida just northwest of Green Bay — was a record-setting tournament. In a route, South Korea’s Kim Sei-young took the 2018 tournament with a 9-shot victory, shooting an impressive 31 under par over four rounds. That broke the LPGA record in relation to par set most recently by … Kim Sei-young, herself. She had 31 birdies, one eagle and a lone double bogey. She hit an astounding 67 out of 72 greens in regulation, earning her the nickname of the “South Korean Hogan”. (Or it at least it should have.)

Legends of the fall line: A rain shortened Legends Tour Red Nose Walgreen’s Championship in Lake Geneva saw many LPGA Golf Hall of Famers return to Wisconsin in 2018. In August 2019, the Symetra and Legends Tours will team together for the Janesville Golf Championship — an event featuring 144 players, including some 30 Legends Tour members — at the two-day event at Janesville Country Club. Founded in 1894, Janesville Country Club is the sixth country club established in the United States, the second in the Midwest and the first in Wisconsin.

It’s A Whole New ‘World’: The 71st U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship will be held in July 2019 at recently renovated SentryWorld in Stevens Point. The championship — offering free admission for all spectators — will feature the best junior amateur players in the world under age 19. The winner earns a spot in next year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston.

U.S. Women’s Open will be 17th USGA championship in Wisconsin: The U.S. Women’s Open Championship will be played at Erin Hills following another USGA tournament — the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, slated for Sept. 10-15, 2022 — with Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wis., serving as the stroke-play co-host course.

“We are thrilled to return to Erin Hills, and to bring the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Mid-Amateur to such a memorable and deserving course,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA . “To bring these championships to a public facility all golfers can enjoy is especially exciting for us. The USGA has a great relationship with the facility, and Erin Hills has proven to be one of the premier golf venues in the nation as well as an excellent test.” Ticketing and volunteer opportunities for the 2025 U.S. Women’s Open will be announced at a later date.
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