It’s a test of golf, a test of fitness, and it’s a test of endurance. “Golf’s Longest Day” is the name the Golf Channel gave to the final day of Sectional Qualifying Sites for the US Open. It is the day when all around the country, State and Regional Golf Associations host 36-hole sectional qualifiers, to see who the last men will be to earn a spot in the field for the US Open.
Lindsey Weaver and Mary Pomroy
Jimin Kang and Mary Pomroy
Golf’s other longest day happens for women. Every year in late May, women from around the US and the world step up to the tee to test their game against a local qualifying site in their bid for a spot in the US Women’s Open Championship. This year on May 19th, 78 professional and amateur hopefuls attempted to qualify in Arizona for 2 spots in the field at the 2015 US Women’s Open. The Sectional Qualifying site was the spectacular Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club; the managing Association for the qualifier was the Arizona Women’s Golf Association.
This day is a long, hot, fast paced race to sundown for the players and the tournament officials. The practice tee opens at 6:00 am. That’s when the first contestants arrive to loosen up and get their game face on. The field is limited to 78 players because that’s the maximum number of players that can possibly complete 36 holes in one day in late May before dark. And that’s by sending players in two waives starting from both the 1st and the 10th tee. Those who are fortunate enough to draw an early morning tee time, and whose play is quick enough, get a 30 break to have lunch, recharge, and start again for the afternoon round. Those less fortunate or less successful in their play are lucky to get 15 minutes between rounds.
The first ball was launched at 7:00 am, and the flag was replaced in the last hole at 7:14 pm, leaving just enough time to get all the scorecards received, verified, and posted, and send the two players tied for 3rd place back to the tee for an on-course sudden death play-off for the 2nd Qualifier and the 1st Alternate positions. As dark fell on the Superstitions, from a field that included LPGA players Ai Miyazato and Cheyenne Woods, a local amateur favorite and a seasoned professional from South Korea emerged victorious. University of Arizona player Lindsey Weaver took both the Medalist and the Low Amateur honor with a score of 70-69=139. 2nd place qualifier Jimin Kang, 70-71=141, defeated Scottsdale’s Mallory Blackwelder in a sudden death play-off. The second alternate was Brittany Fan of Hawaii.
One can’t qualify to play in the US Women’s Open without a really great golf game. But it also takes fitness and endurance, both physical and mental. Those who aspire to play at this level, don’t attempt it without including the full regimen of exercise and fitness training.
Arizona Women’s Golf Assoc.
Mary Pomroy has served as the executive director of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association (AWGA) since 1999. Mary leads a staff of 6, along with approximately 150 volunteers to deliver programs, including USGA Programs, Tournaments & Competitions, Information & Outreach, Player and Volunteer Development, to approximately 320 clubs and 23,000 individual members. She developed her passion for the game as a new player and volunteer organizer of a business golf league while working as a marketing manager for a Santa Clara, California technology firm, a career that she left in 1995.
Arizona’s leader in women’s golf since 1924, the Arizona Women’s Golf Association (AWGA) supports over 23,000 members at all skill levels. The AWGA is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization, which preserves, promotes and enhances the best interests and true spirit of the game. For further information, to make a tax-deductible donation, or to join today, visit our website at www.awga.org or call 800-442-2942; 602-253-5655