The 68th U.S. Women’s Open Championship officially got underway on Monday at Sebonack Golf Club, with the first day of practice rounds. Players, spectators and volunteers did their best to beat the heat and humidity on the opening day, and were aided by a nice breeze, at least on areas of the course located next to the Great Peconic Bay.
Practice rounds were slated to continue through Wednesday, June 26, with tournament play kicking off on Thursday, June 27, at 7 a.m. A new champion will be crowned on Sunday afternoon.
The U.S. Women’s Open is the first major tournament that Sebonack is hosting, and the first U.S. Women’s Open to be contested on Long Island. The private course is a newcomer—it has been open for play only since 2005—but in that short time it has earned a reputation as one that could test the best players in the world.
Sebonack is in good championship company, nestled among two of the country’s most well-known and historic courses, the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, founded in 1891, and the National Golf Links of America, founded in 1911. Shinnecock has hosted the U.S. Men’s Open on four occasions—1896, 1986, 1995 and 2004—and is slated to host the 2018 U.S. Open. It also has hosted the 1900 Ladies Amateur Championship, the 1967 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship and the 1977 Walker Cup.
National, meanwhile, which is directly next door to Sebonack, is set to host the Walker Cup this September, and hosted the inaugural Walker Cup in 1922.
Sebonack solidified its spot among those other legends in a relatively short period thanks to several factors, not the least of which was the unorthodox pairing of two course designers known for building great courses, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak. Though they have contrasting styles, Sebonack owner Michael Pascucci managed to convince them to collaborate on the 298-acre property with spectacular views of the Great Peconic Bay.
Mr. Pascucci, a native of Glen Cove, owns WLNY-TV 55 and initially made his fortune as a pioneer in the car leasing industry. His dream of building a championship golf course on Long Island started becoming a reality when he purchased the property in 2001 for $46 million from the electrical workers Local Union No. 3. The union had owned the property and used it as a retreat for its members and families, originally purchasing it from the wealthy Sabin family, who had built an estate on the property named Bayberry Land in the early 1900s.
The finest female players in the world will try to create a new kind of history at Sebonack next week. A total of 156 players, both professionals and amateurs, will be battling for the trophy, and more than 130,000 spectators are expected to be in attendance.
Sebonack will create a somewhat unorthodox feel for a Women’s Open—whereas most such competitions are defined by narrow, tree-lined fairways, Sebonack offers wide fairways, but makes up for that with some of the trickiest greens players will face. With a number of holes exposed to the Great Peconic Bay, the wind and weather could be key factors as well. Sebonack will also play longer than the typical women’s open, with a total yardage of 6,796.
While players from across the globe will descend on Sebonack, there are plenty of local storylines to follow as well. Annie Park, a native Long Islander, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open after winning sectional qualifying. Ms. Park is a graduate of MacArthur High School and the only girl ever to win the Nassau County boys high school golf championship. She is currently a freshman at USC.
Hampton Bays High School graduate Joe Carson, a caddy at Sebonack, will be on her bag. Meanwhile, Louis de Kerillis, a Southampton High School graduate and teaching pro at Sebonack, will be caddying for 15-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko, the top-ranked amateur player in the world.
Tickets are still on sale, and kids 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. For tickets and more information, visit www.2013uswomensopen.com.
Player NotesKarin Sjodin of Sweden, who was fully exempt into the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open, has withdrawn from the championship due to an injured shoulder. Professional Ryann O’Toole, the first alternate out of the Boylston, Massachusetts qualifying site, has replaced her in the field. O’Toole will join Momoko Ueda and Soo Jin Yang in Thursday’s 8:46 a.m. grouping off the 10th tee.
Additionally, as Inbee Park, winner of last week’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, was already exempt into the U.S. Women’s Open, Christel Boeljon has been added to the championship field. Boeljon, a professional from the Netherlands, was the first alternate from the River Vale, New Jersey qualifying site. She will be player 91, joining Moira Dunn and Pornanong Phatlum in Thursday’s 1:14 p.m. grouping off the first tee.
Also, as only one player in the top 25 of the Rolex Rankings has not entered the championship, Amy Meier has been added to the championship field. Meier, a professional from Rochester Hills, Michigan was the first alternate from the St. Louis, Missouri qualifying site. She will be player 84, joining Brooke Mackenzie Henderson and P.K. Kongkraphan in Thursday’s 12:41 p.m. grouping off the first tee.