June 18, 2018

Debby Murphy (pictured) nearly had two aces at Northampton on Monday.

Murphy, Torti medal in U.S. Senior Women’s Open Qualifier

  The inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship added three names to its tee sheet Monday at Northampton Country Club (par 72, 5,950 yards).

| Scorecards | U.S. Senior Women's Open portal |

  Punching tickets to the championship proper in a Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia were medalists Debby Murphy of Bedminster, N.J. and Marie-Therese Torti of Canada, who shared top honors thanks to rounds of 5-over 77. Professional Holly Vaughn of Naples, Fla. grabbed the third spot on the second hole of a 2-for-1 playoff.

  On the hottest day of the summer thus far, the medalists bettered a qualifying field of 22 Open hopefuls. The cut line stopped at 7-over 77 on the day.

  Securing the three alternate spots available were, in order, pro Janie Sirmons of Cold Spring Harbour, N.Y., pro Heather Cameron of Canada and amateur Jane Fitzgerald of Kensington, Md.

  The championship proper will be played July 12-15 at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill.

  It was ultimately a special day for many, especially for those who qualified. The pair of medalists shared a similar message after being handed their invitations.

   “This is seriously a dream come true,” said Torti. “I’m going to be playing in a national championship with ladies I grew up admiring. Some of my role models will be in the field. This is the highlight of my career.”

   “I’m really excited for all of us. We’re all in the same boat, and there’s many of us who are ready for [the Senior Women’s Open],” said Murphy.

  Murphy’s round included two birdies – both which qualified as near aces.

  On No. 13 (par 3, 153 yards), Murphy’s 5-hybrid tee shot landed on the front of the green and rolled inches past the hole. She’d tap that one in for birdie. The par 3, 121-yard 16th hosted her next near 1 after an 8-iron tee shot nestled up to three feet.

   “Overall, my putter struggled. I bogeyed the first four holes, but then I was able to settle down,” said Murphy. “But I hit the ball well all day long and it was nice to get the job done.”

  Murphy, a teaching professional at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, wasn’t sure she’d take a chance at qualifying. After all, she hadn’t played a full round since December.

   “One of my students said, ‘Are you kidding me? You need to go out and try to qualify’ so I gave it a try. I hadn’t been playing, but now I’m glad I did,” said the 57-year-old, who also competes in speed golf championships.

  Torti, from the Montreal area, made the trip down to the Philadelphia region in order to qualify. She was able to give her husband, Rene, a late Father’s Day gift in the form of a medal honor.

   “We’ve been down here since Friday. I was able to get out for a practice round, and then came out here today and played well,” said Torti.

  The Canadian’s round included just a single red number, which arrived on No. 16. A three-quarters 9-iron off the tee landed two feet from the cup. That jarred tap-in steadied her coming into the clubhouse.

   “The greens were the course’s defense, so I’m glad I was able to putt great today,” said Torti, 55. “I would say I was able to make some good pars and bogeys. Our group was all playing well, so we were able to push each other a little bit which helped us all.”

  In the 2-for-1 playoff, Vaughn, a 1994 U.S. Women’s Open competitor, defeated Sirmons on the second playoff hole, No. 2 (par 5, 493 yards).

  After missing a two-foot clincher on No. 1 (par 4, 396 yards), Vaughn bounced back. She ripped a drive to start the second hole, just rolling into the right rough. Vaughn was forced to play it safe to the left, hitting an 8-iron, leaving her with 175 yards into the wind on her third. That 3-hybrid approach sailed over the right of the green, but a gentle chip put her in good position. After Sirmons missed on her par attempt, Vaughn’s five-foot look was jarred and the invitation was hers.

   “We’ve been talking to many older players, and we’ve all wondered if we would see a Women’s Senior Open,” said an emotional post-round Vaughn. “Now to be playing in the first one, I’m besides myself. It’s really special.”

  The field for the championship proper is set at 120 players, including 61 exempt players; 16 of which have won the U.S. Women’s Open. The championship is open to any professional or amateur golfer who is 50 years of age as of July 12 and has a Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 260 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers

Name, city, sate

Score

Debby Murphy, Bedminster, N.J.

77

Marie-Therese Torti, Canada

77

*Holly Vaughn, Naples, Fla.

79

Alternates (in order)

*Janie Sirmons, Cold Spring Harbour, N.Y.

79

*Heather Cameron, Canada

82

*Jane Fitzgerald, Kensington, Md.

82

Failed to qualify

Laura Tyler, Northumberland, Pa.

83

Kathy Hart Wood, Tewksbury, N.J.

84

Angiewhitley Coleman, New Castle, Del.

85

Lisa Diprospero-Day, Coatesville, Pa.

85

Noreen Mohler, Bethlehem, Pa.

85

Karen Noble, Chatham, N.J.

85

Kathleen Ricci, Howell, N.J.

85

Karen Siegel, Maple Glen, Pa.

85

Linda Nevatt, Warminster, Pa.

86

Diane Rama, Harleysville, Pa.

87

Frances Gacos, Flemington, N.J.

88

Sue Sardi, Skillman, N.J.

88

Diane Cardano-Casacio, Flourtown, Pa.

91

Donna Young, Ewing, N.J.

92

Colleen Edelman, Ho Ho Kus, N.J.

98

Sandra Miller, East Stroudsburg, Pa.

100

*-decided in playoff

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