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LPGA History: The 1980s

1980:
LPGA players competed for more than $5 million in total prize money.
Nancy Lopez became the youngest player in LPGA history to reach 20 career wins when she captured the 1980 Rail Charity Golf Classic. She was 23 years, 7 months, and 26 days old.

Donna Caponi and JoAnne Carner led the tour in victories with five each. Beth Daniel and Amy Alcott each won four, and Nancy Lopez won three.

 
1981:
Kathy Whitworth became the first player to reach $1 million in career earnings at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Beth Daniel led the LPGA Money List, while JoAnne Carner won the Vare Trophy and the Player of the Year award.

 
1982:

Kathy Whitworth won her 83rd LPGA tournament, the Lady Michelob, to pass Mickey Wright on the all-time win list.

JoAnne Carner won the World Championship of Women’s Golf to earn enough points to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. She led the tour with five wins, topped the money list, and won the Vare Trophy.

John Laupheimer replaced Ray Volpe as the LPGA Commissioner. The LPGA moved its headquarters from New York to Sugar Land, Texas.

 
1983:

The Nabisco Dinah Shore was designated an LPGA Major championship.

JoAnne Carner won her third consecutive Vare Trophy. Patty Sheehan and Pat Bradley led the tour in wins with four each. Sheehan was the Player of the Year.

 
1984:
Juli Inkster became the first rookie in LPGA history to win two major championships. She captured the Nabisco Dinah Shore and the du Maurier Ltd. Classic. Inkster also won Rookie of the Year honors.

Mary Beth Zimmerman set the record for the lowest nine hole score in relation to par when she shot 8-under 28 at the Rail Charity Golf Classic at the Rail Golf Course in Springfield, Illinois.

Betsy King won her first LPGA tournament since joining the Tour as a rookie in 1977 at the Women’s Kemper Open. King won 20 events from 1984-1989. In her career, she claimed 34 titles, including six majors.

Hollis Stacy won her third U.S. Women’s Open at Salem Country Club in Salem, Mass. She won the USGA event in 1977 and 1978.
 
1985:

Kathy Whitworth won her 88th and final LPGA tournament at the United Virginia Bank Classic. She holds the record for the most LPGA career victories.

Alice Miller became a first-time winner by clearing the field at the Nabisco Dinah Shore. She then proceeded to win three other events that season, the McDonald’s Championship, the S&H Golf Classic and the Mayflower Classic.

 
1986:
Pat Bradley won three of the four Major championships. She captured the Nabisco Dinah shore, the LPGA Championship and the du Maurier Ltd. Classic. She joined Babe Zaharias (1950) and Mickey Wright (1961) as the only players in history to win three Majors in the same season. Bradley also took the money title, Player of the Year, and the Vare Trophy. In her career she won 31 tournaments, including six majors.

Cindy Mackey won the MasterCard international Pro-Am by fourteen shots, an LPGA record.

Jane Geddes claimed her first LPGA victory at the U.S. Women’s Open by defeating Sally Little in an 18-hole play off. She backed up her major win with another title the following week at the Boston Five Classic. Geddes, Louise Suggs and SeRi Pak are the only three players in LPGA history to have won an event immediately after capturing the U.S. Women’s Open

Juli Inkster won four times, the McDonald’s Championship, the Women’s Kemper Open, the Lady Keystone Open and the Atlantic City Classic.

 
1987:
Ayako Okamoto from Japan became the first international player to win the Rolex Player of the Year Award. Okamoto posted 17 top-10 finishes, including four victories and four runner-up finishes. She also led the LPGA money list.
England’s Laura Davies won the U.S. Women’s Open at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J.. She defeated Ayako Okamoto and Joanne Carner in an 18-hole playoff.

Nancy Lopez qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame with her 35th win at the Sarasota Classic, the same event in which she claimed her first career win in 1978.

Pat Bradley became the first LPGA player to cross $2 million in career earnings.

 
1988:

Sherri Turner led the money list, Colleen Walker won the Vare Trophy and Nancy Lopez was the Player of the Year.

Liselotte Neumann won the U.S. Women’s Open at Baltimore Country Club as a rookie.

William Blue replaced John Laupheimer as LPGA Commissioner and he moved the LPGA headquarters to Daytona Beach, Florida.

 
1989:

LPGA players competed for more than $14 million in total prize money.

Betsy King won six tournaments, including her first U.S. Women’s Open. She led the LPGA money list and captured her second Rolex Player of the Year Award. Beth Daniel won the Vare Trophy.
LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and the LPGA Urban Youth Golf Program were founded.

 

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