Olivia Mehaffey is thrilled that the powerbrokers behind the Masters have created a new amateur event for women with the final round to be played at Augusta National next year.
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship was announced on Wednesday by club Chairman Fred Ridley during his annual press conference at the Masters Tournament.
The event has been established "to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for these players to fulfil their dreams."
"I think this new championship is so exciting for women’s golf," said the 20-year old Arizona State University sophomore from Banbridge, who's likely to qualify for the new event.
"It’s going to help grow the game and get more women started playing. The media attention and the opportunity for female amateurs is huge.
"I would love to get the opportunity to play Augusta. It would be like a dream come true. Augusta is a magical place and since I was young I watched the Masters. The idea of the opportunity to get to tee it up there a week before the pros is surreal."
While world No 2 Leona Maguire will miss out as she turns professional later this year, Mehaffey is currently 14th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and likely to get a chance to qualify for the final round at Augusta.
She captured her maiden collegiate title earlier this season having helped ASU win the NCAA title in her freshman season in 2017.
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship will be held annually the week prior to the Masters and will culminate with the final round taking place at Augusta National.
“Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts left behind a legacy of always trying to contribute meaningfully to the game of golf,” club Chairman Ridley said.
“The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship embodies that principle, and we believe this event will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of the women’s game. Our hope and expectation is that this event will further energise those who already love the sport and inspire others through the dream of competing at Augusta National.”
The 54-hole, stroke play tournament will feature an international field of 72 players. Invitees will be determined by awarding winners of other recognized championships and using the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
In 2019, the first two rounds will take place at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta. After a cut to the low 30 scores, the final competitive round will take place at Augusta National on Saturday, April 6, when an amateur champion will be crowned for the first time ever at the home of the Masters.
The event is expected to be televised and will be distributed on digital platforms around the world.
Daily tickets onto the grounds of Augusta National for the final round will also be made available through a random selection process that will be announced at a later date.
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship is now the latest effort announced by the Masters to inspire interest and participation in the game of golf, joining the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, the Latin America Amateur Championship and Drive, Chip and Putt, all of which are actively supported by the Tournament.
Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship Fact Sheet
The Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship was announced on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, by Chairman Fred Ridley during his annual press conference at the Masters Tournament. The event was established to inspire greater interest and participation in the women’s game by creating a new, exciting and rewarding pathway for these players to fulfil their dreams.
An international field of 72 women amateurs will compete over 54-holes of stroke play. A cut will take place after 36 holes, advancing the leading 30 players to the final round at Augusta National Golf Club. In the event of a tie after 54 holes, the winner will be decided by sudden-death playoff.
The first 36 holes will be contested over two days at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Following the 36-hole cut, the final competitive round will take place at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday, April 6.
Qualifications for Invitation
- Invitations will be provided to the winners of the following recognized events: U.S. Women’s Amateur, Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship, Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific, U.S. Girls’ Junior, Girls’ British Open Amateur Championship, Girls Junior PGA Championship.
- Future champions of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship will also receive an invitation for the following five years.
- The top 30 players from the United States of America will be invited who are not otherwise qualified, based on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
- After the previous qualifications, the next 30 highest ranked players not otherwise qualified will receive invitations, as listed on the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.
- Remaining positions filled by invitation of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship Committee.
Note: All players who qualify must retain amateur status to compete in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship.
For the Winner
Provided she remain an amateur, the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur Champion will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championships, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2019 Women’s British Open, and any USGA, R&A and PGA of America amateur championships for which she is eligible for one year.