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NORTON, Massachusetts – Two Massachusetts natives were among the more than 100 professional and amateur golfers who have earned exemption into the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship – being contested at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois this upcoming summer. The announcement was made by the USGA on Wednesday ahead of the online entry process that begins next month.
Two-time U.S. Women’s Open Champion Meg Mallon, who was born in Natick and is the winner of 18 LPGA Tour events, joins Westford native Pat Bradley, the 1981 U.S. Women’s Open champion and a six-time major champion, on the list of individuals who will not have to compete in sectional qualifying if either should desire to compete in the 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, which will take place from July 12-15.
Mallon, who will turn 55 prior to the start of competition, is a 30-year veteran of the LPGA Tour and was most recently elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in Fall 2017. She edged Bradley in the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Colonial Country Club (Fort Worth, Texas) by two strokes. 13 years later, she edged Annika Sörenstam by the same margin at the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which was contested at South Hadley’s The Orchards Golf Club. She announced her retirement in 2010.
Bradley, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1991 before retiring in 1995, will be 67 when the Championship heads to Illinois this July. Currently residing in Hyannis, Bradley has amassed 31 LPGA Tour wins over the course of her 21-year career and last won a major championship in 1986. She was part of the original class of 2002 inductees into the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame, and served as keynote speaker at the 2014 Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame Induction Gala.
A similar format to the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Women’s Open, the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be a walking only, 72-hole, stroke play competition over four consecutive days. A 36-hole will be intact with the top 50 competitors and ties advancing to play on the final two days.
The Championship, one of 14 national championships to be contested during the 2018 campaign, will be open to professional females, and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday by the first day of the championship. The 120-person field will consist of competitors who are either exempt or gain entry through an 18-hole sectional qualifier.
Currently, the USGA has confirmed 16 sites where sectional qualifiers will be held between June 4 and June 26 at clubs around the country. Locally, Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton will play host to the 2018 sectional qualifier on June 14. Registration will begin on March 7 at www.usga.org.
This will be the 12th USGA Championship to be held at Chicago Golf Club and the first since the 2005 Walker Cup.