The many golf championships that continue to be hosted in the Home of American Golf™ are a testament not only to Moore County’s significant golf heritage but also to our unsurpassed hospitality.
The spotlight will be on our community once again as the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open comes to Moore County Thursday – Sunday, May 16 – 19 and will be hosted by Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines.
Open to players age 50 and older, the championship marks the sixth U.S. Golf Association event held at Pine Needles. Laura Davies is the reigning senior women’s champion and a former holder of the U.S. Women’s Open title. Among her competitors will be 10 other former U.S. Women’s Open champions.
A Donald Ross-designed course, Pine Needles will challenge for players. The resort’s layout will give fans easy access, allowing spectators to walk behind the players as they make their way across the 18-hole course.
In addition to the senior women’s event, the resort has been selected by the USGA to host the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open Championship. That tournament’s previous visits to Pine Needles were in 1996, 2001, and 2007 when it drew a record turnout. Pine Needles is the first golf resort to be awarded four U.S. Women’s Open Championships.
“There is so much history here; this event will only magnify that,” said Phil Werz, president and CEO of the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It speaks to the roots of golf.”
Widely considered a trailblazer for her role in promoting women’s golf, Peggy Kirk Bell owned Pine Needles from 1954 until her death in 2016. Matt Sawicki, a director of the senior women’s tournament, said Bell’s legacy contributed to the USGA’s decision to bring the event to Southern Pines.
“We looked at the Sandhills — Pine Needles in particular — its connection to Peggy Kirk Bell and the women’s game,” Sawicki said in a recent interview. “Everyone has a fond memory of either this golf course or some interaction with Peggy Kirk Bell and it just reaffirmed our decision to come here.”
“This is a great championship to have here,” Kelly Miller, president and CEO of Pine Needles and Mid Pines, said. “It is important for us, for women’s golf and for our community and state.”
In addition to the U.S. Women’s Open Championship back at Pine Needles in 2022, Moore County looks forward to the U.S. Men’s Open returning to Pinehurst in 2024.
(Original story by Laura Douglass & Jaymie Baxley, The Pilot 5/10/19)