U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, Major USGA Golf Tournament

Sophia Schubert plays a shot during the final round of the 2017 Evian Championship
Sophia Schubert, winner of the 2017 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images 

The U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, conducted by the USGA, is the premiere golf tournament every year for women amateur golfers. It is open to female amateurs with USGA Handicaps not exceeding 5.4. Qualifying tournaments are played around the United States, allowing any amateur golfer who meets the handicap criteria to attempt to qualify.

The USGA Women's Am was first played in 1895. That first tournament was stroke play; all tournaments since then culminate in match play. The winner receives possession of the trophy, named the Robert Cox Cup, for  for one year, along with a commemorative gold medal. The two finalists also receive exemptions to play in the next U.S. Women's Open. The winner also earns a place in the field for the next Women's British Open.

The U.S. Women's Amateur rotates to different golf courses each year.

2020 Tournament

  • When: August 3-9, 2020
  • Where: Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland

2019 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

Gabriela Ruffels of Australia defeated Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela, 1-up, in the championship match. It was also a PAC-12 Conference showdown: Ruffels plays golfer at USC, Valenzuela at Stanford. They were all square when the afternoon 18 began, and traded 1-up leads back and forth a couple times. Ruffels won the 35th hole with a birdie to go 1-up. With a halve on the final hole, she won the title.

2018 U.S. Women's Amateur

Four years after winning her first title in this tournament, Kristen Gillman won it again. Gillman's victory in 2018 was much easier than her win in 2014, when she went to the 35th hole to defeat Brooke Henderson. Here, Gillman, from Austin, Texas, beat Jiwon Jeon of South Korea by a 7-and-6 score. Gillman and Jeon were soon to be teammates on the University of Alabama women's golf team.

Format of the USGA Women's Am

The tournament is played over six days and begins with a field of 156 golfers. Those golfers play two days of stroke play, after which the field is cut to to the top 64. The remaining 64 golfers move into single-elimination match play, playing 18-hole matches until two golfers remain. The two finalists play a 36-hole championship match.

Winners of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

The full list of U.S. Women's Amateur Championship winners includes both winner and runner-up, plus the score of each championship match, going back to the first one in 1895.

These are the 20 most-recent winners of the tournament:

Year Winner Golf Course
2019 Gabriela Ruffels Old Waverly, West Point, Miss.
2018 Kristen Gillman GC of Tennessee, Kingston Springs, Tenn.
2017 Sophia Schubert San Diego CC, Chula Vista, Calif.
2016 Eun Jeong Seong Rolling Green GC, Springfield, Pa.
2015 Hannah O'Sullivan Portland (Ore.) GC
2014 Kristen Gillman Nassau CC, Glen Cove, N.Y.
2013 Emma Talley Country Club of Charleston (S.C.)
2012 Lydia Ko The Country Club, Cleveland, Ohio
2011 Danielle Kang Rhode Island CC, Barrington, R.I.
2010 Danielle Kang Charlotte (N.C.) CC
2009 Jennifer Song Old Warson CC, St. Louis, Mo.
2008 Amanda Blumenherst Eugene (Ore.) CC
2007 Maria Jose Uribe Crooked Stick, Carmel, Ind.
2006 Kimberly Kim Pumpkin Ridge, North Plains, Ore.
2005 Morgan Pressel Ansley GC, Roswell, Ga.
2004 Jane Park The Kahkwa Club, Erie, Pa.
2003 Virada Nirapathpongporn Philadelphia CC, Gladwyne, Pa.
2002 Becky Lucidi Sleepy Hollow CC, Scarborough, N.Y.
2001 Meredith Duncan Flint Hills National, Andover, Kan.
2000 Marcy Newton Waverley CC, Portland, Ore.

View all of the USGA Women's Am winners.

Tournament Records at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

The record for most win is six, set by Glenna Collett Vare. Vare, after whom the LPGA Tour's Vare Trophy is named, won in 1922, 1925, 1928-1930 and 1935. Only one other golfers has won as many as five times: JoAnne (Gunderson) Carner earned victories in 1957, 1960, 1962, 1966 and 1968.

Five golfers share the record for consecutive wins, which is three: Beatrix Hoyt, 1896-98; Alexa Stirling Fraser, 1916-20 (not played 1917-18); Vare, 1928-30; Virginia Van Wie, 1932-34; and Juli Inkster, 1980-82.

The youngest winner is Kimberly Kim, who was 14 years, 11 months and 21 days old in her 2006 victory. And the oldest winner, Dorothy Campbell Hurd, was 41 years, 4 months old when she won the 1924 USGA Women's Am.

The record for largest winning margin in the championship is 14-and-13, the score by which Anne Quast Sander defeated Phyllis Preuss in the 1961 final.

U.S. Women's Amateur Championships Trivia and Notes

  • The first U.S. Women's Amateur Championship was also the first significant women's golf tournament of any kind in the U.S. Lucy Barnes defeated a field of 12 others for the first title, the only one fully contested at stroke play.
  • Beatrix Hoyt, who won the 1896-98 championships, was the granddaughter of a Supreme Court chief justice, Salmon P. Chase. Chase also served as a U.S. senator and governor of Ohio.
  • JoAnne Carner won five U.S. Women's Am titles, plus one U.S. Girls Junior and two U.S. Women's Opens, for a total of eight USGA championships. Only Bobby Jones (nine) and Tiger Woods (nine) have USGA more.
  • Jenny Chuasiriporn had one of the great "almost" years in 1998. She almost won the U.S. Women's Amateur, losing to Grace Park in the final (albeit by a sizable margin, 7 and 6); and she almost won the U.S. Women's Open as an amateur, losing a 19-hole playoff to Se Ri Pak.
  • The first foreign-born winner was Dorothy Campbell Hurd, a native of Scotland, in 1909.
  • Glenna Collett Vare won six times, and lost two times in the final, for a record total of eight times in the championship match.
  • In 1907, the Curtis sisters (namesakes of the Curtis Cup) met in the championship match. Margaret Curtis defeated Harriott Curtis, 7 and 6.
  • The only meeting of a mother and daughter in match play during the U.S. Women's Amateur happened in 1962, when Jean Trainor defeated her daughter Anne Trainor in a second-round pairing.
  • In the 2017 quarterfinals, 13-year-old Chia Yen Wu of Taiwan defeated Lauren Stephenson on the 30th hole. Scheduled for just 18 holes, the match required 12 extra holes before Wu emerged as the winner. At 30 holes, it was the longest scheduled-for-18-holes match in the history of all USGA championships.

Future Sites of the U.S. Women's Amateur

  • 2019: Aug. 5-11, Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, Miss.
  • 2020: Aug. 3-9, Woodmont Country Club, Rockville, Md.
  • 2021: Aug. 2-8, Westchester Country Club, Rye, N.Y.