U.S. Women's Open Qualifying - Winchester CC - MASSGOLF

Three U.S. Women’s Open Tickets Were Punched After a Marathon Day (And Morning) at Winchester CC

By: Richard Rapp


WINCHESTER, Massachusetts (May 2, 2024) – It was a good, long day to be a Li. Amateur Katie Li and LPGA Tour member Lucy Li claimed co-medalist honors, matching two round totals of 137 (-7). Sofia García grabbed the final spot in the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open Presented by Ally, surviving a four hole playoff that stretched into Thursday morning due to darkness.

Aside from being uniquely long, U.S. Women’s Open qualifying offers a fascinating array of cultures and styles. The field covered five continents, and in any given group of three, you may have heard three different languages. There were high schoolers playing hooky (with good reason, I’d be happy to forge a doctor’s note), and LPGA Tour stalwarts grinding away on what was ultimately another day on the job. Bloated staff bags lay greenside next to push carts and collegiate stand bags.

If you listened closely, you could often hear the difference in pedigree, whether by the sound of the ball striking, or a snippet of idle chatter about a lie-flat seat on the transatlantic flight over (waiting on the same tee just one group later, an amateur competitor rued their cross-country coach ticket. The dreaded middle seat, no less). But pedigree can only get you so far; tickets are issued on merit. The three spots are available to all comers (with a maximum handicap of 2.4, anyway), awarded to whoever persists through the grueling mental and physical examination.

Winchester Country Club can do grueling.

The property is radical in a way that makes you stop and think about glacial erosion, tectonic shifts, the Ice Age, and other such large scale geological events that I am not at all qualified to speak to, let alone diagnose as the root cause of such awesome land movement. Many of the greens sit on raised platforms that dot the hillside. Miss on the wrong side of the platform, and you can find yourself facing a fifteen foot high wall to flop over.

The course demands quality shot making, but with minimal wind and soft greens, it was fair and scoreable on Wednesday. A pile of birdies was needed to advance.

Online: Results | U.S. Women’s Open Home | Mass Golf Home

Katie Li is wrapping up her freshman year at Duke, but it’s not summer break just yet. After locking up her spot in the U.S. Women’s Open, Li wasn’t quite ready to relax. She needed to get back to Duke by Thursday afternoon to take a final…talk about grueling.

So which is more stressful, qualifying or final exams? “Oh, 36 holes of qualifying, for sure. But the fact that I have a final looming over me made the 36 holes a little bit more stressful,” Li said.

But not so stressful that she didn’t enjoy it: “I had a lot of fun and my dad was on the bag, so there was never a moment where I wasn’t smiling.”

The New Jersey resident was a model of consistency, birdieing 2, 7, 8 and 12 in each of the two rounds, and carding just two bogeys all day. Li conceded that she found that a couple of holes fit her eye, “It just felt like, oh, I birdied it before, shouldn’t I just do it again for fun?”

This will be Li’s first trip to the U.S. Women’s Open, though she has enjoyed some prior success in USGA championships. In 2021, she made it to the semi-finals at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, and in 2022 she reached the round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Asked how it feels to have a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open secured, Li said, “It feels phenomenal. I punched my ticket, and now I can take my final while smiling.”

Lucy Li lines up a putt (Photo: Mass Golf)

Co-medalist Lucy Li is no stranger to the big stage. She was the youngest ever U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier at age 10, and the youngest U.S. Women’s Open qualifier at age 11. Now 21, Li has notched two Epson Tour victories, and is currently embarking on her second season as a full-time member on the LPGA Tour. She has already earned two top ten finishes in 2024.

Li’s game was solid all-around, but she credited her putting on Winchester’s large, rolling greens as the difference maker. “I was putting it well, mostly my lag putting was really good. And some of the greens are a little tricky, so that was really good to keep everything under control and not have too many stressful putts.”

After tallying five birdies to one bogey in her first round, Li kept a clean card in round two, notching three birdies, including one on the par-3 ninth that elicited a sizable roar from a group of turn shack patio-revelers.

Like Katie Li, Lucy credited an easy rapport with her caddie for withstanding the mental grind. “My caddie, Trevor, he was great because, we were talking a lot, and that just keeps me kind of relaxed. And I think that’s really important, so the day doesn’t seem so long.”

Despite her considerable experience in USGA championships, Li couldn’t suppress a smile when asked about returning to the U.S. Women’s Open: “I’m really excited,” she gushed.


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After posting rounds of 71-68, Sofia García of Paraguay was locked in a tie for the third and final spot with Amelia Lewis of Jacksonville, FL. The two pros found a warm room inside the clubhouse to await final confirmation that they’d be headed to a playoff. The room was occupied by the pros, a caddie, and the writer of this article, so I can relay that the mood was quiet and anxious.

Grey skies hung over Winchester for the balance of the chilly day, until the sun finally broke through around 6 p.m. Perhaps the injection of light would allow the players to complete their playoff that night? Not so. After García and Lewis matched each other on the 17th and 18th holes, play was called on account of darkness.

They returned to the grounds for a 7:30 a.m. tee time, and after another two holes, García emerged the victor. It’s a familiar road for García, who made it through qualifying in 2022, then made the cut in her first U.S. Women’s Open appearance at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club.

This time around, the road leads to Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, where these three deserving qualifiers will vie for the most coveted trophy in women’s golf.


QUALIFIER (Names; Cities)

Katie Li, Basking Ridge, NJ (a); 68-69 – 137 (-7)

Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, CA; 68-69 – 137 (-7)

Sofia García, Paraguay; 71-68 – 139 (-5)*


Amelia Lewis, Jacksonville, FL; 71-68 – 139 (-5)

Peiyun Chien, Chinese Taipei; 71-69 – 140 (-4)*

*: denotes advanced in a playoff


Located north of downtown Boston, much of the present-day course is essentially built into the side of a hill close to Upper Mystic Lake. The current layout at Winchester debuted in 1902 as a 9-hole course designed by Alexander Findlay. Donald Ross was retained in 1909 to add bunkers, and two years later the club gained more land for Ross to redesign the original 9-holes. In 1916, more land was purchased to allow for an 18-hole course.

In the 1990s Stephen Kay oversaw a restoration using aerial photos from the 1930s. More recently, Ron Forse, an accomplished Ross restorative architect, worked with superintendent Dennis Houle to complete a bunker renovation across all eighty-one sand hazards in 2012. Total area of putting surfaces was also expanded.

“It’s not a long course compared to what you build today, but the architecture still makes this place a challenge. Getting the ball in the hole is still a challenge,” said longtime Winchester member and former Mass Golf President Alan Macdonald.

Winchester CC is set to host the Massachusetts Amateur for the 8th time in 2026. Notable champions of the Mass Am at Winchester include Francis Ouimet, Fred Wright, Rob Oppenheim and Fran Quinn, Jr.


  • The 2024 U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from May 30th – June 2nd.
  • The USGA has accepted 1,897 entries for a final field of 156 competitors.
  • The 2024 purse was announced at a cool $12 million.
  • Brockton native Megan Khang has already earned her exemption into the field, due to a top 30 finish in the 2023 LPGA Race to the CME Globe final points standings, along with her win at the CPKC Women’s Open, and a current top 75 ranking (12th) in the Rolex Rankings. Before missing the cut in 2023, Khang had finished in the top-8 three consecutive years.
  • Allisen Corpuz won the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach by three strokes.
  • If you’re planning ahead, the U.S. Women’s Open is set to return to Massachusetts in 2045 at The Country Club in Brookline. I do not recommend repeating my mistake of calculating my age when that tournament rolls around.



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