State’s top women to tee off in Park City | ParkRecord.com

State’s top women to tee off in Park City

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

It looks like it officially the month of women’s sports in Park City.

On the heels of a three weeks’ worth of girls fast-pitch softball, the Utah State Women’s Golf Association (USWGA) State Amateur tees off at the Park City Golf Club (PCGC) on Monday, July 30 and continues through Aug.1.

It’s more than a tournament played in the city’s backyard. The 101st running of the event will allow the city’s only municipal course the chance to showcase its tees and greens. The contest will also include a handful of Summit County’s most talented golfers.

The Summit County field will be led by Julie McMullin a 12-time Park City Golf Club champion.

"She’s a strong player and great off the tee," said USWGA President Christie Brightwell. "Local knowledge will play into her favor."

Also showing off their skills will be Park City’s Jodie Gingrass, Kara Hendrickson, Janet Ivers, Louise McKee, Iris Thompson and Coalville’s Deb Rees.

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"That’s pretty good representation," Brightwell said.

In total, 125 players will converge in Park City for the three-day contest. Park City Golf Club hosted the event in 2003 and this year marks a return to a municipal course after holding the tournament at private clubs the last two years.

"People tell me that they’re looking forward to coming back," Brightwell said, adding the decision to bring the tournament back to Park City was due in large part to the enthusiasm of Park City director of golf Craig Sanchez. She approached Sanchez last year and he immediately recognized the tournament would be a great way to display both the golf course and women’s sports.

"It’s the marquee event for women in the state," Sanchez said. "It’s a great media event for the Park City Golf Club and Park City itself."

PCGC Ladies 18-Hole Golf League officers Susie Williams and Cindi Chittenden have been organizing the event on the local end. Both have spent months securing sponsorship and volunteers to ensure that the tournament will run smoothly. There is no charge for spectators so they are hoping to garner locals to come out and watch the state’s most talented players.

"It’s really worth the time," Williams said. "They are such great golfers. It supports women’s golf and some of the players are stars of the game."

Both Brightwell and Sanchez agree the test of the course will come on the greens. Although the course is a bit shorter than past state am courses, Sanchez calls the greens a big equalizer. Brightwell said accuracy off of the tee, putting, approach shots to the greens and pin placement will all be paramount to succeeding in the state am.

"The greens are tough," Brightwell said after playing a round on the course Thursday afternoon. "I think a complete player will have the best chance. You can’t ask for a better test of a player’s ability. You have to play a consistent, solid game of golf."

She even predicts that some of the best will likely finish under par. As far as an early prediction on this year’s winner, Brightwell expects the momentum to stay on the side of youth. All of the winners in the past years have been collegiate players, and she doesn’t see that trend changing any time soon.

"The youth movement is growing here the way it is in other places. I just think girls are seeing those role models," Brightwell said referring to Ladies Professional Golf Association players like Paula Creamer and Annika Sorenstam.

She said, that last year a shocking 3,200 college scholarships for female golfers went unused, but more and more girls are getting into the game at an early age. 2008, the Utah High School Activities Association will have a separate division for female and male golfers.

Sanchez said the course should be ready by next week. The club has had to cut back on watering due to the drought, but hez said that some brown grass should be the only detractor.

"We’re doing our part to conserve," Sanchez said, but added that the tees to the greens are well-watered and in good shape.

Williams and Chittenden said that the event isn’t just an isolated effort by the course. Numerous local entities, such as Jim Hahn of Wolf Summit Golf in Redstone, Park City Mountain Resort, Park City Chamber Bureau executive director Bill Malone, Hotel Park City, Morgan Stanley and Dottie Boardman and State Farm Insurance among others have donated countless hours and dollars to ensure the tournament is successful and sheds a positive light on Park City.

"They want to support women’s golf and showcase Park City," Chittenden said.

The 101st Utah Women’s Golf Association State Amateur will be held July 30-Aug. 1. For tee times and a full list of participants, visit http://www.uswga.net. The public is encouraged to attend.

Utah State Women’s Golf Association State Amateur History

-101st tournament

– First and longest running women’s state amateur in the United States

-125 players, 54 stroke play event

– 30 players have a 10 or under handicap

– Defending champion and 2005 winner Rachel Newren and 2002, 2003 winner Annie Thurman Young will not be playing this year. Both turned professional and play on the Future’s Tour

Local Players

Park City Players

Julie McMullin

Jodie Gingrass

Kara Hendrickson

Iris Thompson

Janet Ivers

Louise McKee

Coalville

Deb Rees

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