CCNC Ready for U.S. Girls' Junior
The course looks and plays as if it's ready, the souvenir head covers have been knitted, and the volunteer army is ready to snap to attention.
The United States Girls' Junior Championship will be held at the Country Club of North Carolina July 19-24, and if preparation is the chief factor, the event could begin this week.
CCNC's Dogwood Course is in magnificent shape. The layout - designed by Ellis Maples and Willard Byrd and opened in 1963 - has the look of a championship venue. Course superintendent Ron Kelly is already fired up.
"The rough will be a little longer and the greens will be a little faster," Kelly said, his eyes sparkling at the thought. "The greens will be running about 11 or 11.5 on the stimpmeter, somewhere in that area."
Somewhere in that area should be enough to test the nerves of the golfers, even if they are all teenagers.
The United States Golf Association came to CCNC today, enhancing the already charged atmosphere that has enveloped the club for the past year as anticipation of the national championship has risen.
"We're very excited to be back at CCNC," said Cece Durbin, chairman of the U.S. Girls' Junior Committee. "We've had a record number of entries each of the past two years and we're expecting another.
"Three of our entrants from a year ago played in the U.S. Open, and three of them made the cut. Half of the members of the 2009 Curtis Cup were in our championship last year."
Although neither teen sensation Alexis Thompson nor last year's winner, Amy Anderson, will be in the field, it will still be deep in talent.
Thompson is expected to turn professional before the championship, while Anderson turned 18 and is ineligible.
Girls under the age of 18 who have a USGA handicap index of 18.4 or lower are eligible to attempt to qualify for the event. The entry fee is $25 and includes an 18-hole qualifying round at one of 33 sectional qualifying sites across the country. The entry deadline is June 2.
Past winners of the championship are a who's-who list in the game. Marlene Bauer won the inaugural event in 1949. Mickey Wright won in 1952, JoAnne Gunderson Carner in 1956, Hollis Stacy in 1969, 1970 and 1971, Nancy Lopez in 1972 and 1974, Amy Alcott in 1973, Pat Hurst in 1986, Michelle McGann in 1987, Marcy Newton in 1995, Beth Bauer in 1997, In-Bee Park in 2002, and Thompson in 2008.
"We feel very proud and honored to be selected for this championship," said CCNC member Steve Coman, general chairman of the event. "We've had a great relationship with the USGA since hosting the U.S. Amateur in 1980 when Hal Sutton won.
"I've been to the last two girls' championships and watching them play has been exciting. They're a lot of fun to watch."
More like this story