3 THINGS
USGA Championship Season Set to Commence April 22, 2019 By Scott Lipsky, USGA

With the first major championships of 2019 in the rearview mirror, the busiest section of the golf schedule has arrived. Across the next 15 weeks, there will be a combined seven men’s and women’s majors, as well as a full slate of USGA championships, beginning this weekend with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.

The action certainly hasn’t slowed after an unforgettable Masters. Just up the road in Hilton Head, S.C., C.T. Pan, of Chinese Taipei, registered his first PGA Tour victory by one stroke over Matt Kuchar in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links on Sunday. On Saturday, Brooke Henderson held off 2009 U.S. Women’s Open champion Eun-Hee Ji, reigning Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn and 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Minjee Lee in the Lotte Championship in Hawaii. Henderson’s eighth career win matched Sandra Post for the most LPGA Tour victories by a Canadian.

More excitement is on the horizon, with the PGA Tour holding its two-man team event (Zurich Classic) in Louisiana, the LPGA Tour in Los Angeles and the USGA in the Sunshine State. Here are three things to know as we enter this exciting stretch.

Ready, Set, Team

The U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship begins Saturday with 64 two-player sides playing two rounds of stroke play attempting to earn one of 32 spots in the match-play draw. Competitors hail from 29 states and nine countries, and range in age from 12 to 58. The field includes eight USGA champions, including defending Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champions Ellen Secor and Katrina Prendergast.

In the professional ranks, 80 sides will tee it up on Thursday in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana, in Avondale, the only official team event on the PGA Tour schedule. The 72-hole event includes two rounds each of four-ball and foursomes (alternate shot), with a cut to the low 36 sides and ties after two rounds.

How do these formats work under the Rules of Golf? Check out the four-ball and foursomes sections of the Rules of Golf for more, and be sure to watch this video from the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in 2015, which delves further into four-ball situations:

U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying Begins

Last Wednesday, entries closed for the 74th U.S. Women’s Open Championship at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), May 30-June 2, with 100 players exempt from qualifying. That group included 47 of the world’s top 50 players. Although some spots are being held for winners of LPGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments between now and the U.S. Women’s Open as well as anyone who gets inside the top 50 of the Rolex Women’s Rankings on May 27, sectional qualifying at 25 sites in five countries will determine the remaining places in the field. On Monday in Japan, four places were earned.

How high are the stakes for the 1,400-plus competitors who will play in the 36-hole qualifiers? Twice since 2003 players who have made it into the field via qualifying have gone on to win the championship (Hilary Lunke in 2003, Birdie Kim in 2005), and in 2018, amateur Patty Tavatanakit parlayed her qualifying success into a tie for fifth at Shoal Creek. The UCLA sophomore is one of the 100 exempt players by virtue of placing among the top 10 and ties.

Last Chance to Enter the U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is the most democratic championship in the game, with about half the field determined via qualifying. In order to have a chance to tee it up at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, though, a competitor must file an entry. The deadline is 5 p.m. EDT on April 24. Professionals and anyone with a USGA Handicap Index of 1.4 or lower can enter.

Local qualifying takes place in all 50 states and Canada beginning April 29. Check out the full schedule here.

Click here to learn more and to apply to play.

Scott Lipsky is the senior manager of content for the USGA. Email him at slipsky@usga.org

More From the USGA