Carly Booth, Caroline Hedwall, Meghan MacLaren and Kelsey MacDonald qualified for the 72nd U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., though Sectional Qualifying – Europe, at Buckinghamshire Golf Club near London on Monday.
Booth (70, 73) and Hedwall (73, 70) tied on 143, one-under-par, after 36 holes played in testing conditions.
After finishing two strokes back, MacLaren and MacDonald then earned their spots following a one-hole play-off with Valdis Thora Jonsdottir. The two Britons both made regulation pars on the par-3 ninth, despite the driving rain and swirling winds, while Jonsdottir bogeyed the hole.
Booth, 24, from Perthshire in Scotland, was thrilled to qualify for the $5 million Major championship, which will take place on July 13-17. The two-time LET tournament winner said: “It was a roller coaster out there. The wind was switching and it was raining sideways. It was like a battlefield, but I stayed strong, positive and patient.
“Today, a lot of it was good and I had a few bad shots in every part of my game, but I think that’s because the weather was so tough. I holed some really good putts and hit some really good drives. I think that was the key today, hitting fairways and greens and giving myself some chances.”
Meanwhile, Hedwall, a five-time champion on the LET and the Rookie of the Year in 2011, was equally pleased with her performance in the tough conditions. The 28-year-old from Helsingborg in Sweden said: “When I played the first round I was just feeling that even par was going to be a good score today and I just tried to hang in there, to be honest. It was really, really tough: very windy and we got some rain. I’m just really happy with my game.”
Ladies European Tour Rookie MacLaren led the field after an opening round of 69, but bogeyed her final two holes for a second-round of 76 later in the day. After a tense wait, followed by some putting in the torrential rain and a solid performance in the play-off, the 24-year-old from Northamptonshire was finally able to celebrate qualifying for her first Major championship.
The two-time LET Access Series tournament winner, who recently captured the Azores Ladies Open, said: “Everything that you’ve done before comes down to one hole, or one shot. You have to get your mind right and treat it the same as you would any other shot: it’s nice to get it done.
“I started off really, really well this morning and that’s what got me to this point, the way I played the first seven holes. I managed to make my score when the conditions weren’t too bad and then it was just a case of grinding as well as I could after that, because conditions were really tough out there. I was happy with what I did.
“This is the first time I’ve come to qualifying, so to suddenly be in the US Women’s Open, I’ve never played in a Major before, so it will be amazing to play against the best players in the world and I can’t wait!”
MacDonald, 26, from Inverness, previously qualified for the US Women’s Open as a rookie in 2014 and will make her second appearance this summer.
Her second round of 74 included a hole-in-one at the 14th, where she used a 6-iron from 153 yards.
She then used the 6-iron again in the play-off and said afterwards: “This is my second US Women’s Open, as I qualified here for the first one three years ago and I played at Pinehurst. It was a bit daunting, so I know that this year I will enjoy the experience a lot more and feel more comfortable. I just can’t wait. I’m buzzing!
“I made a hole-in-one on 14 as well, so that helped the score. It’s just been a really solid day. Getting through was a highlight but that makes the day extra special.”
A total of 1,709 entries were accepted for the 72nd U.S. Women’s Open Championship and there are 25 qualifiers in total, including four outside the USA. This year will mark the seventh U.S. Women’s Open contested in New Jersey, and the first in 30 years.