Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club will etch its rightful place in the history of the women’s game when it hosts a record fourth U.S. Women’s Open in 2022. The USGA first awarded the course its first major championship in 1996 and after a successful first run, the major returned again to Southern Pines, North Carolina in 2001 and 2007. In addition, Pine Needles hosted the second playing of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2019. Here’s a closer look at the women who have been victorious in the majors played at Pine Needles.
1996 U.S. Women’s Open
Annika Sorenstam arrived at Pine Needles looking to successfully defend her title after earning her maiden major victory at The Broadmoor in 1995. Sorenstam carded a second round 67 to take the outright lead and never relinquished it for the remainder of the championship. The Swede carded rounds of 69-66 on the weekend to win by six-strokes ahead of Kris Tschetter and set a new tournament record of 272 which still stands today. With her win, Sorenstam became the sixth player in the history of the U.S. Women’s Open to successfully defend her title. Sorenstam waited a decade before winning for a third time at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open at Newport Country Club in what was a footing bookend to her career with both her first and final major titles coming in USGA championships.
2001 U.S. Women’s Open
Like Sorenstam, Karrie Webb came to Pine Needles in search of a second consecutive U.S. Women’s Open title after winning in 2000. Webb jumped out to the 36-hole lead with a second round 65 and led for the duration of the championship. The Aussie won by eight strokes ahead of Se Ri Pak and became the seventh player in U.S. Women’s Open history to win back-to-back. Webb’s win at Pine Needles became her fourth of seven major victories for the World Golf Hall of Fame member. That year, Morgan Pressel became the youngest player, at the time, to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 12.
2007 U.S. Women’s Open
Weather delays plagued the return of the U.S. Women’s Open to Pine Needles in 2007. During the third round, which wasn’t completed until Sunday of the final round, it was Kerr who emerged with the 54-hole lead after a round of 66 to lead by one. She carded a final round 70 to win by two strokes ahead of Angela Park, who led the first two days, and Lorena Ochoa. Kerr’s victory marked her 10th career win on the LPGA Tour and she would go on to win a second major title three years later at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open
Pine Needles hosted the second playing of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2019. Open to female golfers aged 50 and older, Helen Alfredsson entered the final round in a tie with Trish Johnson as the both sat at Even par through 54-holes. After a rollercoaster finish in which she carded five bogeys and one birdie, she managed 13 consecutive pars to win the championship at 1-over par, and two strokes ahead of Johnson and Juli Inkster. The win was the first of two for Alfredsson that season as she also went on to win the Senior LPGA Championship.