Frenchwomen Jade Schaeffer and Valentine Derrey, Camilla Lennarth of Sweden, German Rookie professional Olivia Cowan and Pamela Pretswell from Scotland were the five players who qualified for the 2016 US Women’s Open Championship in the 36-hole European Sectional Qualifier conducted by the USGA at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England on Wednesday.
The five Ladies European Tour members will join the other successful qualifiers from 24 venues around the United States, South Korea, China and Japan as well as defending champion In Gee Chun and approximately 93 exempt players at CordeValle in San Martin, California, on July 7-10.
England’s Hannah Burke earned the first alternate spot after making a birdie putt on the first play-off hole playing against Amy Boulden from Wales, who will be the second alternate and Lauren Horsford from England won the silver medal for being the low amateur.
After signing for rounds of 67 and 72 and a total of five under par, Schaeffer commented: “This will be my first time playing in the United States so to start with the US Women’s Open is so, so good.
“Today I started very well and made a lot of putts. This afternoon was a lot more difficult but I made a lot of up and downs and I was happy with my short game.”
Cowan, who tied for second on four-under-par, said: “It feels amazing because I’m a rookie this year and I’ve never played a Major. This is going to be my first one so I’m really excited. I was quite confident that it was going to be a good day.”
Lennarth, who also tied for second, said: “I played well today. Especially the first round was good. I played really well tee to green but didn’t really take my opportunities and felt like two under could have been a little better. I struggled on my front nine in my second round but was managing to make pars from places you shouldn’t be. Then I really got my game together which I am so proud of. I really started playing well down the stretch and managed to make two birdies in the last three holes which secured my spot!
“It is the first US Women’s Open I have played in. I have come close on two previous occasions, so this is third time lucky! To make it to the US Women’s Open is a dream come true. To get the chance to experience the tournament and compete against the top players in the world is going to be great.”
Derrey, who tied for second, said: “I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great experience to play a US Women’s Open in July. This will be my first time. I think it will be a good test and a tough course, like all the Majors, so hopefully it will be good for me.”
Pretswell secured the fifth and final spot on three-under-par and she said: “I’m absolutely delighted. This is my first time playing in US Women’s Open qualifying and I’m looking forward to playing in California. I’ve played in two British Opens but to go over to America will be amazing and a good experience. I just tried to stay patient all day and make as many birdies as we could. I think I was very patient which is something I’m not always good at but it’s been coming for a while, so it’s nice. It’s massive and I’m looking forward to next month and hopefully I can continue playing good golf.”
Two U.S. Women’s Open champions have reached the championship through sectional qualifying: Hilary Lunke (2003) and Birdie Kim (2005). Lunke won after advancing through local and sectional qualifying, while Kim competed in the sectional stage.
The U.S. Women’s Open was first conducted in 1946 and its winners include players such as Betsy Rawls, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Mickey Wright, Hollis Stacy, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Juli Inkster, Inbee Park and Michelle Wie.