Fifty three-player teams from 49 states and the District of Columbia came together for the 11th playing of the USGA Women’s State Team Championship held September 10-12, 2015 at the Gary Nicklaus designed Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, MO.
A unique element of this event is the age range of the participants. The youngest player was Jennifer Koga, 13, of Honolulu, Hawaii. Katie Falk, 69 of Milwaukee, WI was the oldest. The average age was 34. Delaware’s team had a combined age of 40, while Illinois had the oldest team with a combined age of 163. Arizona’s team was at both ends of the spectrum with Kelly Su, 15, teaming up with Kim Eaton, 56, and Judy Miller, 65.
For almost 1/3 of the field, this was their first time competing in a USGA Championship. This is not an uncommon statistic and is another of the unique elements of this event. Many of the other players have impressive résumés. There were 7 USGA individual champions in the field, with Ellen Port of Missouri having 6 titles and Meghan Stasi having 4. Two players have competed in Curtis Cup Matches. Four players have won the USGA Women’s State Team title, including Arizona’s Judy Miller in 2007. Susan Marchese of Omaha, Nebraska has played in all 11 of the State Team Championships.
The more experienced players get the opportunity to renew friendships with players from other states with whom they have competed over the years. Others begin to build those relationships at events like this. Some players come with family members as teammates. Mississippi had a mother and daughter combination, while New Mexico, host of the 2017 Women’s State Team Championship, had sisters, and the District of Columbia had an aunt-niece combo.
This lush green course on a beautiful day begged players to give it their all. Florida, one of the first teams on the course Thursday, ended up as the team to beat, after posting a 6-under-par total of 138. Georgia was only one stroke back. Day 2 of the Championship brought a whole different feel. Overnight rain did not end before play began. Fog and intermittent rain added to the challenging conditions of “moving day”. Only the top 21 teams and ties advanced to play on Saturday. Unfortunately, our Arizona team narrowly missed the cut. After dealing with all the elements, Florida ended up at 5-under-par with a 2 stroke lead over Georgia. Day 3 brought cool temperatures, not reaching 70 degrees until the players were walking off the course, wind and scattered showers. The leader board changed regularly, but Georgia’s 7-over round was enough to take the title after Florida posted a 12-over round. This was Georgia’s fourth time as winners of this Championship.
By Julie Fenn
Julie Fenn, Player Programs Manager, with the Arizona Women’s Golf Association is a 2010 Arizona graduate of the Golf Academy of America. She has been on staff with the AWGA since 2014 after a stint as Executive Director of the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California. Julie is experiencing her dream job by running the AWGA’s tournaments and developmental programs, including the adult focused Golf 101, and the junior focused High School Girls – Build-a-TEAM program.