The Road to Olympic Club
USGA accepts more than 1,500 entries into 2021 U.S. Women's Open
The 18th hole at Olympic Club's Lake course.
The “Open” part of the U.S. Women’s Open was missing in 2020, the USGA salvaging the championship in December at Champions Golf Club in Houston while sacrificing the qualifying process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the dream of anybody entering the event and having the chance to win has been rekindled for 2021, with the USGA announcing on Thursday it had accepted 1,595 entries from golfers hoping to advance to The Olympic Club in San Francisco come June.
The governing body received entries from 57 countries nearly all the way to its 5 p.m. EDT deadline on Wednesday as 27-year-old amateur Ali Green of Norwood, Ohio, submitted the final entry with four minutes to spare.
This is the seventh straight year that there have been at least 1,500 entries into the U.S. Women’s Open but the most since 2017. The record for most entries is 1,873 in 2015 when the championship was played at Lancaster (Pa.) C.C. Entrants must be professionals or amateurs with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower.
Seventy-four players are currently exempt into the championship proper, including the most recent player to get earn a spot with a victory, 2021 ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit. All remaining entrants have to play their way to Olympic Club through 36-hole qualifiers held at 22 sites in the U.S. and Japan from April 26 to May 13.
Notably Juli Inkster, a two-time winner who has played in a record 35 U.S. Women’s Opens but none since 2014, entered this year’s championship, hoping to advance to Olympic Club, which is 35 miles from her home. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer is not, however, the oldest entrant. That would be another LPGA veteran, Laura Baugh, 65, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur 50 years ago this summer.
Meanwhile, the youngest entrant is 10-year-old Bella Campos of Honolulu.
The last player to win the U.S. Women’s Open through local qualifying was Hilary Lunke in 2003, taking down Kelly Robbins and Angela Stanford in an 18-hole playoff at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore.
The USGA also announced the currently exempted player list. Seventy-four players are into the field today, including the most recent player to get exempted by a victory, 2021 ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tavatanakit.
All but one of the top 25 players in the world have entered the tournament; only Ha Na Kang of South Korea (No. 24) failed to file an entry, the USGA confirmed to Golf Digest.
The number of local spots available for those dreamers will depend if more players become exempt into the 156-player field. Any winner of an LPGA event between now and the start of the U.S. Women’s Open earns an exemption. Additionally, any player in the top 75 in the Rolex Rankings as of May 17 not otherwise exempt will get into the field.