Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Usga Will Decide Four National Titles at Pennsylvania Courses This Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Usga Will Decide Four National Titles at Pennsylvania Courses This Year

Article excerpt

Pennsylvania has been the site of some of the greatest moments and produced some of the greatest champions in U.S. Open history.

If it wasn't Ben Hogan coming back from a near-fatal car accident in 1950 or Lee Trevino outlasting Jack Nicklaus in 1971 in a pair of classic outcomes at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia, it was a young Nicklaus staging the first of many iconic duels with Arnold Palmer in 1960 or Johnny Miller shooting what many consider the greatest round ever played in 1973 in two of the eight U.S. Opens at Oakmont Country Club.

No club has played host to as many U.S. Open championships as Oakmont, which is getting ready for its ninth June 16-19 - nine years after Angel Cabrera outlasted Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk in 2007.

And no state has staged as many USGA national championships as Pennsylvania, which will add to its total in 2016 with four more tournaments - the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Amateur at Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Stonewall Links in Elverson and the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur at the Kahkwa Club in Erie.

If Oakmont is the "gold standard" among U.S. Open venues - that's what USGA executive director Mike Davis always says - then Pennsylvania is a gold mine for national championships.

"It starts with Merion and Oakmont," said Jeff Rivard, recently retired as executive director of the West Penn Golf Association. "There's two of the most revered courses in the country."

According to the most recent Golf Digest ranking of America's top 100 courses, Pennsylvania is the only state with two courses ranked in the top six - Merion (5) and Oakmont (6).

"It's a beautiful state with great golf courses and the people here have been willing to host championships, which is a key," said World Golf Hall of Famer Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, who has won seven USGA titles in her decorated career, tied for fifth most all time behind Bobby Jones (9), Tiger Woods (9), Jack Nicklaus (8) and JoAnne Carner (8). Thompson won her second USGA title, the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur, in 1990 at her home course, Allegheny Country Club.

This is the first time in 117 years the USGA has staged four national championships in Pennsylvania in one year. That goes back to when the USGA staged its first event in the state - the Women's Amateur at Philadelphia Country Club - in 1899.

The USGA has staged three championships in the same year in Pennsylvania four other times, the most recent in 1983 when the U.S Open was at Oakmont, the Senior Women's Amateur was at Gulph Mills Golf Club in King of Prussia and the Junior Amateur was at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem.

Counting 2016, Pennsylvania has been home to 86 USGA championships, more than any other state. That includes 17 U.S. Opens (nine at Oakmont), 14 U.S. Women's Amateurs, 12 U. …

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