Go to contents

Hilary Lunke Wins US Women`s Open

Posted July. 08, 2003 21:54,   


Hilary Lunke won her first LPGA tour title at US Women`s Open, rising from obscurity.

The 24-year-old American finished with a one-under-par 70 in a three-way playoff held at the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge in North Plain, Oregon on July 8, ahead of Angela Stanford, who shot an even-par 71, and Kelly Robbins, who had a round of two-over 73.

Lunke, who made her pro debut two year ago, remained low-key without winning a single title. And now she seems an unlikely champion of the toughest event in women`s golf.

She also became the first qualifier to win in the 58-year history of the championship.

She began to play golf at 13 as recommended by her father. When she was attending Stanford University, she increased her presence as a young golfer, appearing in college all-star games. She only won two regional college championships, however, without ever winning a nationwide event hosted by the US Golf Association.

She continued to struggle after her pro debut in 2001.

In her first year of professional league, she was ranked at 31st at qualifying school, failing to win a full seed. In 2002, she attended 10 games, but never ranked within the top 10. She barely survived the two stages of local qualifying this year as 17th, winning a chance to play at the Pumpkin Ridge.

Lunke played 12 LPGA games this year and won just over $39,208. She was facing another qualifying to win a full seed for next year. Then, the victory came.

She collected $560,000, jumping from 88th to 4th in prize ranking. As a major champion, she will no longer have to worry about survive qualifying for the next five year.

Lunke, who made a 4.5 m birdie putt on the 18th hole to win, said during a press interview, “No one would ever think I would win the title and few knew my name, but I did it.” There must be magic to her victory at the Witch Hollow course, where many star players such as Se Ri Park were not able to get out.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com