Happy 100th! That’s a greeting not often spoken or overheard in everyday conversation,
but it will be leading up to and during this summer’s Women’s Texas Amateur
There’s perhaps no more appropriate way to celebrate the milestone event
than to return to where it all began. From July 6-9, River Crest Country Club
in Fort Worth will host the 100th Women’s Texas Amateur, 105 years after the
storied club staged the first-ever championship.
“We are so excited to be at River
Crest Country Club for the 100th Women’s Texas Amateur,” said Amy Worthington,
TGA Director of Women’s Operations. “The fact this historic club hosted the
inaugural championship over a century ago and we have the opportunity to come
back and play the 100th edition on the same course is remarkable. I think the
players will truly enjoy everything that River Crest Country Club has to
The 1916 championship at River Crest was the first event conducted by the
newly formed Women’s Texas Golf Association, which had been established earlier
in the year by a group of pioneering women from the host club and neighboring
Glen Garden Country Club for the purpose of advancing golf opportunities for women
The championship has been on a remarkable journey in the ensuing
years since the final putt was holed in the inaugural event. The trip has
included stopovers at the best clubs all across the state, from Amarillo to the Rio Grande Valley, from
Midland to Texarkana, from major metropolitan areas to pastoral small towns and
all points in between.
“Returning to where it all started for the Centennial
Championship is a true privilege and helps connect the past to the present,”
said Stacy Dennis, TGA Executive Director and two-time Women’s Texas Amateur
champion (2004, 2009). “It is a unique moment in time to not only honor all
those who contributed to the growth and success of women’s golf in Texas, but also
to celebrate the future and the opportunities it will bring.”
This will be the fifth Women’s
Texas Amateur and eighth TGA major championship overall held at River Crest
Country Club. In addition to the inaugural championship, the club hosted the Women’s
Texas Amateur in 1922, 1932 and 1949. River Crest also hosted the Texas Amateur
in 1917, 1922 and 1954.
“River Crest Country Club has a
rich history in women’s golf in the state of Texas,” said Reid Parrish, Head
Golf Professional at River Crest. “It is the birthplace of the Women’s Texas Golf
Association in 1916 and counts several Women’s Texas Amateur past champions as
River Crest members, including Pauline
Stripling French, Babe Zaharias, Anelia Goldthwaite and Polly Ann Riley. We are
honored to continue this history hosting the best amateurs in the state at this
year’s 100th Women’s Texas Amateur.”
The list of state amateur champions
who have won at River Crest includes three dominant players of their era and
who are now enshrined in the Texas Golf Hall of Fame: Edna Lapham, Charles Dexter
and the great Betsy Rawls, who also is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Lapham in 1916 won the first of
her seven Women’s Texas Amateur titles at River Crest and in 1922 Charles
Dexter won his second consecutive Texas Amateur. A young phenom from nearby
Arlington, Betsy Rawls, won the 1949 Women’s Texas Amateur at River Crest.
Rawls defended her title the following year and as an amateur finished
runner-up in the 1950 U.S. Women’s Open before entering the professional ranks.
During her legendary World Golf Hall of Fame career, Rawls won eight major
championships and 55 LPGA Tour events.
The game of golf, and indeed the
world, has changed considerably in the 72 years since River Crest last hosted
the Women’s Texas Amateur. But, somewhat comfortingly, the very best features
of River Crest – the style, ambiance and sense of place – remain unchanged.
That’s especially true of its timeless parkland-style course, which has retained all the strategic design
elements that have challenged golfers for more than a century.
River Crest opened for play in
1911 and was designed by Tom Bendelow and A.W. Tillinghast. The course has
undergone several renovations over the years, most recently in 2018 overseen by
Colligan Golf Design to highlight the bunkering, contoured greens and narrow
fairways of the original design.
Measuring just 6,368 yards from
the back tees and playing to a par 70, River Crest emphasizes the notion that
something does not need to be big in order to be good. The layout exudes sportiness,
with precision and steady nerves required on every shot to consistently hit the twisting fairways, which are edged by trees
and OB stakes, and consistently hold its small, canted greens, which are
guarded by yawning bunkers.
Length off the tee means less than creativity and course
management skills at River
Crest, which contestants will find out for themselves once the championship
The 100th Women’s Texas Amateur
will feature a starting field of 88 golfers, comprised of the state’s most
accomplished juniors, collegians, mid-amateurs and seniors. The championship
format is 18 holes of stroke play qualifying on Tuesday, July 6, with the low
32 scores advancing to the Championship Match Play Bracket. The remaining
players are seeded into additional match play flights. First- and second-round
Championship matches will be played Wednesday, July 7; quarterfinals and
semifinals on Thursday, July 8; and the final on Friday, July 9. All matches
are 18 holes.
Bentley Cotton of Austin, who won
the 99th championship last year at The University of Texas Golf Club, will be
back to defend her title. Cotton, a freshman on the UT Women’s Golf Team, will
attempt to become the first back-to-back champion in more than 20 years. The
last to accomplish the feat was Texas Golf Hall of Famer Mina Hardin in 1999-2000.
Among the prominent college
players who will look to dethrone Cotton at River Crest include two top
finishers from the 99th championship: runner-up Makenzie
Niblett of Austin, a freshman at Texas A&M, and semifinalist Kennedy Pedigo
of Fort Worth, a junior at SMU. Also expected to make a spirited run at this
year’s title are Dallas Baptist University sophomore Faith Delagarza of Midland
and freshman Olivia Mitchell of Plano, who recently led the Patriots to their
first NCAA II Women's Golf National Championship. The DBU teammates are also the
reigning TGA Women’s Four-Ball champions.
As it has done many times before, River Crest promises to host a prestigious and dramatic affair and will be sure to provide the ideal test in identifying a worthy champion.
For more on the 100th Women’s
Texas Amateur, click here.