Juli Inkster lives about 45 minutes from San Francisco’s Olympic Club and has played the course roughly 50 times. When entries close for U.S. Women’s Open qualifying on April 14, at least one LPGA Hall of Famer will be in the mix.
“I’m probably an idiot for trying,” said 60-year-old Inkster, “but I think I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t because it’s so close to home.”
Inkster, who lives in Los Altos, California, signed up for the 36-hole qualifier on April 26 at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. She’ll be tournament-ready after competing in next week’s Hugel-Air Premia LA Open on the eve of the qualifier. The 31-time LPGA winner made her 2021 LPGA debut at the Kia Classic last month where she missed the cut.
The 76th U.S. Women’s Open will be held June 3-6 at Olympic Club’s Lake Course, which has previously hosted five U.S. Opens (1955, 1966, 1987, 1998 and 2012) three U.S. Amateurs (1958, 1981,2007), the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur and the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2015. This marks the first USWO held at the club.
“It’s a tough golf course,” said Inkster, who first played it in college. “It’s all you can handle. It really makes Lake Merced look easy, which is hard to do.”
Only two players have won the U.S. Women’s Open after advancing through qualifying: Hilary Lunke (2003) and Birdie Kim (2005).
Inkster, the 1999 and 2002 USWO champion, had to go through qualifying once before for the championship after the birth of one of her two children.
“I don’t remember what year it was,” she said. “I was low qualifier. It’s not easy.”
Inkster last competed in a U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 at Pinehurst, where she tied for 15th. She received special exemptions into the championship in both 1983 and 2013.
Betsy King, another two-time USWO champion, advanced out of a qualifying site in Arizona in 2011 at age 55. Laura Davies did the same in 2014 in New Jersey at age 50. Both Catriona Matthew and Lorie Kane played their way in at age 48.
“I just decided, you know, what the heck,” said Inkster. “If I make it, I make it; if I don’t, I don’t.”
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/13/seven-time-major-winner-juli-inkster-60-signs-up-for-u-s-womens-open-36-hole-qualifier/