SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Kentucky women's golfer Anna Hack will play in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open this week at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif. The world’s best women’s golfers will compete for the national championship on golf’s greatest stage Thursday through Sunday.
Hack, who recently completed her freshman season at UK, qualified in May for the world’s premier golf championship during a sectional qualifier at Westwood Country Club in St. Louis. She is one of 25 amateurs in the 156-player field.
“Throughout high school I had goals that I wanted to do,” Hack said. “I wanted to play college golf. I wanted to play in the U.S. Girls Championship, which is the junior of the U.S. Women’s Open. After I met all my goals in high school, I just came to college and started working and decided I wanted to try to qualify for some pro tournaments. I didn’t really expect this. I thought get through my four years and see what I could do in college golf and at UK, and it’s all worked out really well.”
Hack’s appearance in this year’s U.S. Women’s Open will mark the second straight appearance for a Kentucky Wildcat in the national championship, which is open to female amateurs and female professionals across the country and globe. Former UK women’s golfer Mallory Blackwelder (2007-09) competed in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open.
“The U.S. Women's Open is finally here and we are excited to watch Anna as she gets to compete against the best players in the world,” head coach Golda Johansson Borst said. “She has been there for a few days and has a good handle on the course. She also has Brian on her bag, and I know he will be of great help to her as she navigates the setup of this championship course. This should be a fantastic experience for her and one that she can learn and grow from in the years to come.”
Play will begin Thursday at 10 a.m. ET and conclude Sunday night. Each of the four rounds will feature 18 holes.
Hack will tee off Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET alongside Miriam Nagl and amateur Yu Sang Hou. The trio will tee off Friday at 10:05 a.m. ET.
Assistant coach Brian May will caddie for Hack.
“I really have no idea what to expect,” Hack said of her first career U.S. Women’s Open experience. “Coach May is going to go out there with me, so that’ll make it a little easier, kind of like a UK tournament because I’ll have UK people with me. I always just wanted to play for my state because I feel like it means a lot more to me to be able to play for the state that I grew up in.”
Following the first two rounds, golfers outside the of the top 60 (plus ties) are cut from the field.
Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the U.S. Women’s Open live on Thursday and Friday from 3-8 p.m. ET. Fox will take over on the weekend with live coverage from 3-7 p.m. ET. USGA.org will also have coverage online, including live scoring updates.
The tournament will be held at CordeValle, designed by internationally acclaimed golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. Described by Jones as his finest creation, the course features CordeValle’s Northern California landscape of meandering creeks, sycamore trees, canyons and broad meadows.
Hack, a Paducah, Ky., native, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in May by beating professional Ember Shculdt on the third playoff hole to clinch one of two spots from the St. Louis sectional. Thanks to five birdies in the second round, including three in the final five holes, Hack shot a second-round 69, the lowest score of the qualifier to set up the playoff.
She had to make a birdie on the second playoff hole to stay alive and then eliminated Shculdt with a par on the third playoff hole to clinch the second qualifying spot. Overall, Hack shot 4-over par in the 36-hole qualifier for second place.
The sectional qualifier in St. Louis was one of 25 U.S. Women’s Open qualifying tournaments (21 in the U.S., four internationally) for the 71st U.S. Women’s Open field. All sectional qualifiers were 36-hole, stroke play tournaments. The number of spots available at each sectional varied based on number of entries.
Hack’s latest achievement continues her rapid rise within the program. Just a freshman at the time this past year, Hack was arguably UK’s best golfer down the stretch of the season, posting two top-25 finishes in two of her last three tournaments.
Fifteen of her final 17 rounds were in the 70s, and she posted a 76.3 stroke average in the spring, the second-best mark on the team. She notched a career-best 14th-place finish at the LSU Tiger Golf Classic and ended the season with a career-low 54-hole score of 223 at the Southeastern Conference Championship, tying for 23rd.