By Alex Podlogar
Think about that for a second.
Nine of the last 12.
Nine of the last 12 North & South Women’s Amateur champions have drawn paychecks as members of the LPGA Tour. The equation is near perfect. Win the North & South Am, go on to professional success at the highest level.
After that championship lineage took a minor break a couple of years ago to allow Ally McDonald to put the finishing touches on an All-American collegiate career at Mississippi State, the link between the North & South and the LPGA Tour was back in lockstep in 2014.
Just weeks after the U.S. Women’s Open wrapped on Pinehurst No. 2, the top collegiate player in the country, UCLA freshman Alison Lee edged Lori Beth Adams over 19 holes to win the 112th Women’s North & South Amateur. A couple of months after that, Lee, the inaugural winner of the Annika Award, named after Annika Sorenstam for the top college player of the year, turned pro after winning LPGA Tour Qualifying School. And in May, Lee nearly won for the first time on the LPGA Tour when she finished third at the Kingsmill Championship. She’s already won nearly $300,000 on Tour this season.
The 113th Women’s North & South Amateur returns to Pinehurst No. 2 for all five days, with three rounds of stroke play beginning on Monday. The top 16 seeds from stroke play will advance to match play, and the championship will be decided on July 17.
One last note: nine former North & South Women’s Amateur champions are competing in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open this week. North & South champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey, Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
So, who might win the 113th edition of the prestigious event? Here’s a look at the top contenders. (A note: As deep as this field is, it would surprise no one if the eventual champion is someone who is not on this initial list – just like Ally McDonald in 2013.) … Continue Reading