Three-time U.S. Open champ Susie Maxwell Berning, pioneer Marion Hollins inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame

Susie Maxwell Berning speaks during the 2022 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction.
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Three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Susie Maxwell Berning likely never imagined her name being said in the same breath as “Tiger Woods,” but that’s exactly what happened Wednesday evening when the two shared the stage as inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Maxwell Berning, Woods, Marion Hollins (posthumously) and retired PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem were among the Class of 2022 HOF inductees honored Wednesday at Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., which plays host to this week’s The Players Championship – considered the “fifth major” in men’s golf.

“Tiger, I know it’s hard for you to believe, but as young as I am, I won all of my tournaments before you were born,” said 80-year-old Maxwell Berning, earning big laughs during her induction speech. “And by the way, Tiger, my three U.S. Opens – the total winnings was $16,000. I was wondering if you’d like to swap checks? Perhaps, if not all, we could do one?”

Among Maxwell Berning’s career achievements are four major championships and 11 career LPGA titles – four of which came after giving birth to her first child in 1970. The mother of two daughters, Robin and Cindy, recalled having to withdraw once from an event because she couldn’t find childcare.

“I withdrew from a tournament in San Diego because I couldn’t find a babysitter,” Maxwell Berning recently told Golfweek, noting that she began playing the LPGA part-time after 1977 once her eldest daughter reached school age.

Her golf career actually started by accident. As a young teen in Oklahoma City, she was walking her 9-month-old colt, Joker, around a bridal path and the horse bolted across the nearby Lincoln Park Golf Course. When maintenance workers threatened to call the cops on the 13-year-old, Maxwell Berning says she struck a deal with the club’s the head pro, U.C. Ferguson, agreeing to teach his two young children to ride in exchange for letting the incident go.

She picked up Ferguson’s kids every Saturday for riding lessons, but one day the pro suggested she tie up her horse and head to the range where none other than Patty Berg, founding member and first president of the LPGA, was giving a raucous clinic.

A 14-and-a-half-year-old Maxwell Berning was hooked. “They were having so much fun,” she recalled of that fateful day.

Less than two years later, the 16-year-old sold her two horses for $150 and bought a car so she could drive to the golf course.

Maxwell Berning won the Oklahoma City Women’s Amateur three times and became the first woman to earn a golf scholarship at Oklahoma City University, where she played on the men’s team.

“I played under ‘Sam Maxwell’ during my college days,” she told Golfweek, explaining the moniker was given to her when an opposing coach asked about the player listed on the roster as “S. Maxwell.”

“Is it Steve or Sam?” he asked, to which her coach, Abe Lemons, replied: “Sam will do.”

She turned pro in 1964, winning $450 in her first LPGA event – the Muskogee Civitan Open – on home soil in Oklahoma and earning LPGA Rookie of the Year honors. Maxwell Berning captured her first major at the 1965 Women’s Western Open with her three U.S. Women’s Open titles following in 1968, 1972 and 1973.

She remains one of only six women to have won the U.S. Open three times and one of just 12 players (man or woman) to win three or more of the coveted titles along with Mickey Wright (4), Jack Nicklaus (4), Betsy Rawls (4), Ben Hogan (4), Willie Anderson (4), Bobby Jones (4), Babe Zaharias (3), Tiger Woods (3), Annika Sorenstam (3), Hollis Stacy (3) and Hale Irwin (3).

Marion Hollis, suffragette and U.S. Amateur champion, changed golf’s landscape

Also joining the WGHOF Class of ’22 is Marion Hollins, the 1921 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, the first U.S. Curtis Cup captain and the first woman to develop golf courses, who was recognized posthumously.

Hollins, who was born in 1892 and grew up on a 600-acre farm in Long Island, N.Y., was the daughter of Harry B. Hollins, an investment banker and advisor to financier J.P. Morgan. She raced cars, held the distinction of being the only woman in the U.S. with a men’s polo handicap and was an accomplished equestrienne, driving four-in-hand horse carriages – including driving a team from Buffalo to Manhattan to sell war bonds in World War I.

Hollins marched with Suffragettes in New York City, and it was her equality-driven spirit that led her to establish the Women’s National Golf & Tennis Club on Long Island in the 1920s. When the male members of The Creek Club decided to disallow women golfers, she was part of a group of local women who purchased 176 acres and created the all-women club that lasted 18 years.

Her golf career included numerous amateur titles including the 1921 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and as the playing captain of the U.S. team at the inaugural Curtis Cup matches, where the U.S. defeated England, 5 1/2 to 3 1/2. She later shifted her attention within the sport, becoming a golf course architect, developer of the first planned golf community and an investor, contributing to the development of California’s Monterey Peninsula into a golf mecca.

Hollis is known for making significant contributions to Cypress Point Club and in particular its iconic 16th hole – a fierce par-3 that sits along the coastal cliff and features a 200-yard carry over the ocean. Insisting that the carry would be impossible, famed architects Seth Raynor and Alister MacKenzie (who went on to design Augusta National Golf Club) dismissed the notion of constructing a hole there.

But Hollins insisted it could be done, and legend has it, she teed up a ball and landed it precisely where she envisioned placing the green. Then she did it twice more.

“To give honor where it is due,” MacKenzie wrote in The Spirit of St. Andrews. “I must say that, except, for minor details in construction, I was in no way responsible for the hole. It was largely due to the vision of Miss Marion Hollins.”

“Not only did she establish a thrilling golf course there, but she assembled a club membership befitting that location – one that included both men and women from the very beginning,” said Dick Barrett, president of Cypress Point Club, who presented Hollis at the induction ceremony.

Hollins also established the Pebble Beach Golf Championship for Women, which she won seven times. The competition is credited with convincing the United States Golf Association to hold its amateur championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links in September 1929, which drew Bobby Jones as an entrant.

Jones lost in the first round of that event and headed over to the opening of a new golf course community founded by Hollins, Pasatiempo Golf Club and Estates. Hollins’ relationship with Jones became key to developing Augusta National, including Jones’ selection of MacKenzie as co-designer and using Pasatiempo as a blueprint for development.

Hollins, who turned a $100,000 investment in a “dry” California oil field into a $10 million windfall, lost her fortune in the 1929 stock market crash. In 1937, Hollins was driving home after visiting a friend in the hospital when a drunken driver collided with her car. She suffered head injuries that hampered her activity but she won one more Pebble Beach title in 1941. She passed away in 1944 at age 51.

With the addition of Berning and Hollins, 41 women have been inducted into the WGHO, with the last being legendary golf instructor Peggy Kirk Bell (lifetime achievement category) and three-time major champion Jan Stephenson (competitor category) in 2019.

Additionally on Wednesday, the WGHOF recognized Renee Powell, 75, with the Charlie Sifford Award for advancing diversity in golf. Powell is the second Black woman to play on the LPGA Tour (1967-80). Since 1995, Powell has served as the head PGA/LPGA professional at Ohio’s Clearview Golf Club, which her father – William Powell – established in 1946 as the first U.S. golf course designed, built, owned and operated by a Black man.

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2023 LPGA Drive On Championship: How to watch, who’s playing in season’s first full-field event

Jin-young Ko of South Korea and Nelly Korda on the 17th tee during the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship.
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The LPGA Tour makes its return to the Arizona desert this week at the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. The season’s first full-field event features eight of the world’s top 10 players plus a slew of fresh faces as this year’s rookie class gets its first taste of competition as tour members.

This week’s event features 144 players (plus two Monday qualifiers) competing for the $1.75 million prize purse in a 72-hole tournament that will implement the LPGA’s new cutline policy for the first time. Beginning this week, the 36-hole cut will change from the top 70 players and ties to the top 65 and ties advancing to weekend action. The LPGA says it hopes to “establish a faster pace of play” with the change.”

Arizona last hosted the LPGA for the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club, where Jin Young Ko earned her first of four LPGA titles that season. The tour last played at Superstition Mountain in the Safeway International from 2004 to 2008, where Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam (2004, 2005) and Lorena Ochoa (2007, 2008) each won twice, and Juli Inkster won in 2006.

The tournament marks the first of four events over the next five weeks (taking off the week of the Masters, April 7-10) and kicks off the crescendo that’s building to the LPGA’s first major of the season, The Chevron Championship, April 20-23 in its new location at The Woodlands, Texas. The 72-hole LPGA Drive On Championship features 144 players, in addition to two Monday qualifiers, who will compete for a $1.75 million purse.

How to watch the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship

You can watch the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship on Golf Channel, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:

  • Thursday, March 23: 9-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, March 24: 9-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, March 25: 6-10 p.m. ET, live stream; 7-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, March 26: 6-10 p.m. ET, live stream; 7-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship

Sitting out this week are world No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 5 Minjee Lee, but No. 2 Nelly Korda and No. 3 Jin Young Ko are back in action following Ko’s return to the winner’s circle two weeks ago in Singapore, where she held off Korda by two strokes. Also in the field this week are:

  • No. 4 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 6 Lexi Thompson
  • No. 7 Brooke Henderson
  • No. 8 In Gee Chun
  • No. 9 Hyo-Joo Kim
  • No. 10 Nasa Hataoka
  • 2022 major winners Ashleigh Buhai, Jennifer Kupcho, Chun, Henderson

Rookies and Epson Tour graduates making their first starts as LPGA members include 20-year-old Lucy Li, a two-time Epson Tour winner who might be best known for playing the 2014 U.S.  Women’s Open as an 11-year-old; South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu, who took medalist honors at LPGA Q-Series; and 18-year-old Alexa Pano, who finished tied for 21st at Q School to earn her card but might be best known from her role in the 2013 Netflix documentary, “The Short Game.”

Past winners, history of the Drive On Championship

The Drive On Championship was initially created as a series of LPGA events that marked the tour’s back-to-competition efforts following the pandemic. Each tournament used the “Drive On” slogan in support of the tour’s resilience, beginning with the first series event in July 2020 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, where Danielle Kang won by one stroke over Celine Boutier. The second event, held in October 2020, replaced the three stops originally scheduled in Asia, and was held at Reynolds Lake Oconee Great Waters Course in Greensboro, Georgia. Ally McDonald captured her career first LPGA title by one stroke over Kang.

The last two “Drive On” events were staged in Florida, at Golden Ocala Golf Club (Ocala) in March 2021 and at Crown Colony Golf Club (Fort Myers) in February 2022. Austin Ernst cruised to her third career title at the 2021 edition, beating Jennifer Kupcho by five shots. The 2022 tournament marked a fresh start for the event (no longer including results or records from the 2020 and 2021 events), where Leona Maguire became the first Irish winner on tour with her victory in 2022.

Last year at the Drive On Championship

Ireland’s Leona Maguire gifted her mom and early birthday present with her first career win at the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship. A 27-year-old Maguire, a standout at Duke and former No. 1 amateur, carded a final-round 67 to finish at 18-under 198 and won the 54-hole event by three strokes over Lexi Thompson. She became the first woman from Ireland to win on tour, and her 198 tied her career-best 54-hole score.

More about Superstition Mountain

Superstition Mountain’s Prospector Golf Course opened in 1998 and was a combined design effort by Jack Nicklaus and his son Gary. The course plays as a par-72 and stretches to 7,225 yards in length, with the women playing it at 6,526 yards. The course was home of the LPGA Safeway International from 2004-08, and was recently selected by Golfweek as one of the “Top 100 Residential Courses.”

Of note, Superstition Mountain is a female-owned facility, originally purchased in 2009 by Susan Hladky and her husband James, who died in 2011. Hladky has made a point of opening her courses to women and college players, twice hosting U.S. Women’s Open qualifying and the site of a 2025 NCAA women’s regional tournament. She’s also given membership to eight LPGA players, who play out of the club: Carlota Ciganda, Mina Harigae, Dana Finkelstein, Jaclyn Lee, Charlotte Thomas, Caroline Inglis, Jennifer Kupcho and Brianna Do.

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2023 March Madness: Utah Utes engineer dramatic turnaround for third-ever Sweet 16 appearance

Members of the Utah Utes celebrate their win over the Princeton Tigers in the second round of the NCAA Womens Basketball Tournament.
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The No. 2-seeded Utah (27-4) women’s basketball team held off a pesky 10th-seeded Princeton squad on Sunday, winning 63-56 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships for the first time since 2005-06 and just the third time in the program’s history.

“I’m proud of our team,” said eighth-year head coach Lynne Roberts after the second-round win at Utah’s Hunstman Center. “We set out to do this a year ago. We lost in this game at University of Texas and the goal was to be able to host (this year) so that we could have that home-court advantage and it made a difference.”

Utah’s fourth-year junior Alissa Pili backed up her recent second-team All-American honor with another 20-plus-point performance, scoring 28 on 8-for 13 shooting with 10 rebounds and going 11-for 13 on free throws. Sophomore forward Jenna Johnson added 15 points and six rebounds.

There’s been a lot of talk this weekend about how the Utes’ previous few seasons have ended – beginning with a rough 14-17 season that was cut short in 2020 due to the pandemic, followed by an abysmal 5-16 record in 2020-21. But the tide turned last year, as Utah rebounded with a 21-12 season that ended with a 78-56 loss to Texas in Austin in the second round of the NCAA tournament one year ago.

So, what changed?

“Last year, everyone was new to the NCAA tournament, so I think everyone was just experiencing it for the first time,” mused Johnson. “Losing in the second round last year, we’re definitely a lot hungrier this year, and then obviously hosting in Salt Lake, it’s fun just being in your own environment, to be around your own fans. I think it gives us an elevated level of confidence, both knowing what it’s like to play in this tournament and also getting to be at home.”

“Yeah, freshman year was kind of rough,” added third-year sophomore Kennady McQueen, who chipped in nine points Sunday. “We did experience losing a lot. … Coach Roberts, she said we are not going to have another season like that. We all stood behind her — the people that stayed — and brought in great people like starting last year with Jenna and Gi (Gianna Kneepkens) and people like that who have had a huge impact in helping us to where we are today. …

“When you get together a group of people that have the same goal in mind and will do make anything to make it happen, I think that’s where we have seen our success rate going up. This past offseason, we just kept getting better, and of course, the addition of the Alissa Pili really helped. When you bring a group of girls that have the same dream and same goal at the end of the year and doesn’t care about personal stats more than winning, I think we get the season that we have today, and it prepares us for deep run in March.”

In particular, McQueen believe it was Utah’s improvement in their defense that was crucial to the turnaround. “Everyone knows how good we are on offense, but if we can’t get stops, it doesn’t matter how good you are on offense,” she said. “So that’s just been a key the whole past off-season and all of this season — just getting better on defense.”

MORE FROM ON HER TURF: Alissa Pili revives her love of basketball with record season at Utah

Roberts credits their defensive improvement with a “philosophical mindset change,” explaining, “We worked on [defense] a lot differently, a lot more intentionally. Strategically we made some changes of how we are going to defend, and I won’t bore you with that. But there was a lot, just different things because you have to play to your strengths. You can’t be a run-and-jump pressing team if you don’t have the depth and athletes to do it. You can’t be a zone team if you are not super big. You have to figure out what fits your personnel, and so that’s what we did.”

There’s also the undeniable impact of Pili, a transfer from USC who has found her stride as a Ute, where she recently was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

“She kind of is the straw that stirs the drink for us right now,” Roberts said regarding the 21-year-old Alaska native. “She’s a nightmare to defend because she can shoot the three, and she’s also really athletic and mobile, so it doesn’t matter who we are playing. I think you have to gameplan for her. But then with her three-point shooting, you know, you have to pick your poison.”

But Roberts also gave plenty of kudos to Johnson, whom she describes as “phenomenal.”

“She’s 19 going on 40,” Roberts said of Johnson. “She’s the most mature, even-keeled consistent player we have. What I love about her is she is who she is. She’s confident in who she is. She knows who she is. She also is incredibly busy off the court.

“We were talking as we were getting ready to watch film, just shooting the breeze a bunch of us, we were talking about movies. And she was like, Oh, I don’t watch movies. Why not? I don’t have time. I get bored. What do you mean you don’t have time? Do you watch shows? No, I don’t ever watch TV. It is because she is doing all of these other extracurricular activities.”

As for guiding the Utes to becoming a championship program, Roberts still sees it as an uphill battle – but one that she and her players are ready for.

“I always use the analogy of pushing the boulder up the hill,” she said. “And doing things for the first time, you have to have that mindset. You have to keep pushing. It’s been incredibly fun to see the support, and I think the swell is a perfect word for it. Most importantly, our players feel it.

“This is why you play, right? And it means so much. I know I say it over and over, but this is not going to be a flash-in-the-pan [season]. This isn’t going to be a ‘Oh, remember that year they had such an incredible year?’ We are going to keep doing it.”

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