The U.S. Women’s Open has often been staged during the Fourth of July weekend in not just a nod to the game’s history but also the nation’s past. And it seemed only fitting that the longest running major in the women’s game coincide with the celebration of America’s Independence Day. In recent years the championship has been staged in May, but in 2023 the major will return to the first week of July for its first staging at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
As the nation celebrates its 225th birthday, here is a look back at some of the major moments that have played out during Fourth of July weekend.
Berning goes wire-to-wire
World Golf Hall of Fame member Susie Maxwell Berning captured her first of three U.S. Women’s Open titles at the 1968 U.S. Women’s Open at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. Berning held off Mickey Wright, a four-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open, to win wire-to-wire and three-strokes clear of the field.
Pak ushers in a new era in golf
In one of the signature moments in the women’s game, Se Ri Pak took off her socks and shoes and waded into the water alongside the 72nd hole at Black Wolf Run during the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open. The Korean made an incredible up and down to force a playoff the next day with Jenny Chuasiriporn which Pak won. With her victory, she inspired an entire generation to take up the game of golf, including the likes of Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi, and In Gee Chun who followed in the footsteps of their fellow countrywoman in winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
Inkster wins after 40
Two-strokes back of Annika Sorenstam to begin the final round, Juli Inkster carded a 66 to overtake Sorenstam at the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open at Prairie Dunes Country Club. The win marked the seventh and final major victory of Inkster’s career. It also earned her a rare place in history as she joined Babe Zaharias as only the second woman to capture two majors after the age of 40.
Lunke gets lucky
In a David and Goliath playoff for the ages, Hilary Lunke became the first qualifier to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in 2003. Lunke outlasted an 18-hole playoff with Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins to capture her lone victory on the LPGA Tour. Lunke advanced through both local and sectional qualifying en route to winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
Mallon gets another major
A record 13 years after winning her first U.S. Women’s Open title, Meg Mallon mounted a Sunday charge at the Orchard Golf Club to win once again in 2004. Mallon began the final round three strokes back of the lead but carded a final round 65 to win by two strokes ahead of Annika Sorenstam. Mallon’s victory was her fourth and final major title.
Happy Independence Day to all. Enjoy the holiday, remember it’s meaning, and play well.