U.S. Women's Open history and records
Match play beginnings
The first U.S. Women's Open was unique in more ways than just being an inaugural event. It also was the only one conducted in a match play format. Patty Berg was a double winner, coming out on top in the 36-hole qualifying rounds before defeating Betty Jameson, 5 and 4, in the 36-hole final.
Prior to 1950, a small group called the Women's Professional Golfers Association ran the U.S. Women's Open, but the popularity of the sport necessitated a larger organization. Thirteen women -- Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Zaharias -- founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association, which ran the U.S. Women's Open for four years before asking the USGA to oversee the championship.
The first U.S. Women's Open the USGA organized was played in 1953. Betty Rawls captured the second of her four titles at the event, winning in a playoff. The tournament has been played every year since, making it the oldest championship open to women professionals and amateurs.
When Carol Mann won the U.S. Women's Open in 1965, she did so in front of a national TV audience. It marked the first time the tournament's final round was televised nationally.
A three-time Olympic medallist (with two golds and a silver) in track and field and an All-American basketball player, Babe Didrikson Zaharias also was a standout golfer. Among her 41 LPGA Tour wins was a U.S. Women's Open championship in 1954 at the age of 43 years and six days old. She remains the oldest champion ever at the event.
One year after making waves at the U.S. Women's Open by finishing fourth, Inbee Park claimed the tournament title by four strokes. Just 19 years old at the time, she broke the record previously set by Se Ri Pak in 1998 to become the youngest champion.
At 11 years old, Lucy Li is the tournament's youngest qualifier. Though she missed the cut after shooting 78-78, Li charmed the press with her poise and maturity heading into the tournament. (She was not, however, the tournament's youngest-ever competitor: In 1967, ten-year-old Beverley Klass competed without having to qualify.
Catherine Lacoste had athleticism in her genes -- she was the daughter of French tennis player Rene Lacoste, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles and three doubles titles, and golfer Simone Thion de la Chaume, who won the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship in 1927. Like her mother, Catherine pursued golf. She is the only amateur ever to win the U.S. Women's Open, achieving that feat in 1967.
Best 72-hole score by an amateur
En route to an eighth-place finish at the U.S. Women's Open in 1999, Grace Park recorded a four-round score of 283. It stands as the best 72-hole score by an amateur.
Second on the all-time wins list with 82 LPGA Tour victories, Mickey Wright (pictured) is also second in terms of major championships won, capturing 13 titles. Four of those came at the U.S. Women's Open (1958, 1959, 1961, 1964), tying her for most victories at the event. Betsy Rawls (1951, 1953, 1957, 1960) also has four U.S. Women's Open titles.
In the tournament's 68 years, 14 foreign-born players have won the U.S. Women's Open. Sweden's Annika Sorenstam (pictured), is a three-time champion (winning in 1995, 1996 and 2006). The other foreign-born players are Uruguay's Fay Crocker (1955), France's Catherine Lacoste (1967), Australia's Jan Stephenson (1983) and Karrie Webb (2000, 2001), England's Laura Davies (1987) and Alison Nicholas (1997), Sweden's Liselotte Neumann (1988) and Korea's Se Ri Pak (1998), Birdie Kim (2005), Inbee Park (2008, 2013), Eun-Hee Ji (2009), So Yeon Ryu (2011) and Na Yeon Choi (2012.)
Winners of Women's Open and Women's Amateur
Juli Inkster (pictured) only won the U.S. Women's Open once, but her victory put her in an elite group. She is one of seven golfers to win both the U.S. Women's Open and the Women's Amateur. Inkster actually won the Amateur title three times, picking up consecutive wins in 1980, 1981 and 1982. Other golfers to achieve at feat are Patty Berg (1938 Amateur; 1946 Open), Betty Jameson (1939, 1940 Amateurs; 1947 Open), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1946 Amateur; 1948, 1950, 1954 Opens), Louise Suggs (1947 Amateur; 1949, 1952 Opens), Catherine Lacoste (1969 Amateur, 1967 Open) and JoAnne Gunderson Carner (1957, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1968 Amateurs; 1971, 1976 Opens).
First professional victory
Sixteen women have earned their first professional victories at the U.S. Women's Open. Before So Yeon Ryu's win in 2011, Inbee Park was the most recent to do so in 2008. Birdie Kim (pictured) earned the title in 2005. Others who fall under this category are Murle Breer (1962), Mary Mills (1963), Sandra Spuzich (1966), Catherine Lacoste (1967), Donna Caponi (1969), Jerilyn Britz (1979), Janet Anderson (1982), Kathy Baker (1985), Jane Geddes (1986), Laura Davies (1987), Liselotte Neumann (1988), Annika Sorenstam (1995) and Hilary Lunke (2003).
Most top-five, top-10 finishes
Louise Suggs, an LPGA founder and World Golf Hall of Fame honoree, holds the record for most top-five finishes and most top-10 finishes at the U.S. Women's Open. She finished in the top five 14 times and in the top 10 19 times.
Longest and shortest courses
The 2011 U.S. Women's Open action featured at the Broadmoor Golf Club's East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo. will take place on the longest course in tournament history. While the previous record was 2005's 6,749-yard course, Broadmoor will challenge the players with a course spanning 7,047 yards.The shortest course used was at Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield, Conn. in the 1979 tournament. It was just 6,010 yards.
Most frequent hosts
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club (pictured) in Southern Pines, N.C. has hosted three U.S. Women's Opens, with tournaments in 1996, 2001 and 2007. Only Atlantic City Country Club has hosted that many, with golfers traveling to Northfield, N.J. in 1948, 1965 and 1975.
Lowest nine-hole score
Eighteen-year-old amateur Brittany Lincicome (pictured) followed a first-round 36 on the front nine with a spectacular 30 on the second nine in 2004, tying the record for lowest nine-hole score at the U.S. Women's Open. Pamela Wright (1994), Juli Inkster (1997) and Raquel Carriedo (2002) have also recorded nine-hole scores of 30. None of them went on to win the title that year.
In the first round at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in 1994, Helen Alfredsson took command of the U.S. Women's Open by shooting a 63. Not only is it the lowest score in the first round at the event, but also it's the lowest score overall. Alfredsson did not hold on to that advantage, failing to win the tournament.
Lowest fourth-round score
In order to win the U.S. Women's Open title in 2004, Meg Mallon (pictured) needed an extremely strong fourth round. That's exactly what she delivered at Orchards Golf Club, shooting a 65 and earning the championship. Sally Little (1978), Ayako Okamoto (1989) and Tammie Green (1997) also have shot record low scores of 65 in the final round.
Lowest 72-hole score
Annika Sorenstam (pictured) and Juli Inkster share the record for lowest 72-hole score in U.S. Women's Open action. Sorenstam achieved the low mark of 272 in 1996 with rounds of 70, 67, 69 and 66, while Inkster recorded her score in 1999 with rounds of 65, 69, 67 and 71.
Lowest under par (72 holes)
En route to winning the U.S. Women's Open title in 1999, Juli Inkster set the record for lowest under par score in 72 holes. She finished at an impressive 16-under for the tournament.
Highest score to lead the field (72 holes)
After 72 holes had been played in the 1953 U.S. Women's Open, Betsy Rawls (right) and Jacqueline Pung (left) were tied with scores of 302. That marked the highest leading score in tournament history, a point matched by Kathy Cornelius and amateur Barbara McIntire in 1956.
Largest winning margin
Louise Suggs recorded the largest winning margin at the U.S. Women's Open when she earned a 14-stroke victory in 1949.
Largest lead after 18 holes
Six golfers have opened up three-stroke leads after the first 18 holes at the U.S. Women's Open. Only one of them (Louise Suggs, 1949) has gone on to win the title that year, while the other five (Patty Berg, 1953; Ruth Jessen, 1962; Kathy Ahern, 1974; Helen Alfredsson, 1994; and Mhairi McKay (pictured), 2003) have lost those leads.
Largest lead after 36 holes
Patty Sheehan holds this record after having nine strokes on her opponents in 1990. Opening up a three-stroke lead after 18 holes in 1953, Patty Berg (pictured) extended that advantage to eight strokes following the second 18 holes. Unlike the other golfer who shares the record for largest U.S. Women's Open lead after 36 holes -- Fay Crocker (1955) -- Berg didn't win the title that year.
Largest lead after 54 holes
Babe Didrikson Zaharias had a 10-stroke lead after 54 holes in the 1954 U.S. Women's Open, the largest advantage in tournament history with that many holes in the books.
Best and worst starts by a champion
Juli Inkster's (pictured) quest for the U.S. Women's Open title in 1999 was helped immeasurably by her strong first round. Recording a 65 in the first 18 holes, she put herself in position for the win and holds the record for the best start by a champion. Despite starting her 1972 U.S. Women's Open campaign with a 79, Susie Maxwell Berning (pictured) didn't give up her title hopes. She rebounded to win the title, becoming the record-holder for worst start by a champion.
Start-to-finish winners (no ties)
Leading a tournament from start to finish with no ties is a difficult task, but nine women have accomplished that feat at the U.S. Women's Open. Babe Didrikson Zaharias (pictured) was the first, earning her wire-to-wire win in 1954. Fay Crocker (1955), Mickey Wright (1958), Mary Mills (1963), Catherine Lacoste (1967), Susie Maxwell Berning (1968), Donna Caponi (1970), JoAnne Gunderson Carner (1971) and Hollis Stacy (1977) also have similarly dominant victories.
Start-to-finish winners (with ties)
Five golfers have gone on to win the U.S. Women's Open after leading from start to finish with ties. Annika Sorenstam (pictured) was the most recent female golfer to win this way, going on to win in 2006. She joined the ranks of Mickey Wright (1964), Amy Alcott (1980), Liselotte Neumann (1988) and Betsy King (1989).
Best comeback by a winner
When Annika Sorenstam captured her first U.S. Women's Open title in 1995, she had to overcome a considerable deficit to do so. After rounds of 67, 71 and 72 in her first three rounds, she trailed by five strokes. A final-round 68, however, helped her move up in the field and win the championship. Five others before her also overcame a five shot deficit: Lauri Merten in 1993, Betsy King in 1990, Jane Geddes in 1986, Donna Caponi in 1969 and Murle Lindstrom in 1962.
When Brandie Burton aced the 13th hole in the U.S. Women's Open in 1998, she recorded the third hole-in-one at the tournament that year. No other U.S. Women's Open has featured that many aces. Twenty holes-in-one have been shot in U.S. Women's Open play overall, including one in 2008 by Patricia Meunier-Lebouc.
Most consecutive starts
Hollis Stacy played in a record 31 straight U.S. Women's Opens from 1970 to 2000. During that time she won three titles at the event, picking up victories in 1977, 1978 and 1984.
Juli Inkster holds the record with 34 appearances. She won twice, in 1999 and 2002, and also recorded the lowest score by a winner in the first round in 1999. Her victory in 2002 made her one of the oldest women to win the title at age 42.
Most career sub-par rounds
A member of the PGA Tour since 1977, Betsy King has finished below par 24 times, winning the tournament title in 1989 and 1990. King is tied with Beth Daniel, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.
Most rounds in the 60s
Beth Daniel has shot a round in the 60s a record 14 times at the U.S. Women's Open.