Honoring Outstanding | Women in the Golf Hall of Fame

In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight the women in Kansas City & Kansas who have made an impact on the game of golf.

Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame

Since its establishment in 2012, the centennial year of the KCGA, The Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame has recognized outstanding women who have contributed to the success of the game in the Kansas City region. Each of these Hall of Famers distinguished themselves on, and off, the course.

Here is a brief summary of the accomplishments of these exceptional women:

Miriam Burns (Horn) Tyson began playing golf at an early age under the tutelage of Milburn Head Professional Harry Robb, Sr. She won seven KC Women’s Match Play championships, the Trans-Mississippi, and two Women’s Western Amateurs. However, none of those feats compare to her 1927 victory in the United States Women’s Amateur. She retired from competitive golf at the age of 26, in 1930. Ms. Tyson was a 2013 inductee into the Hall of Fame.

Opal Hill took up the game rather late in life after her doctors advised her to get more fresh air and exercise. She practiced her new-found passion relentlessly and went on to win four Trans-Miss titles, three Women’s Western Amateurs, the North & South, three Missouri Women’s Ams, and two Western Women’s Opens. On the local scene, she captured fourteen Kansas City championships. She became just the third woman to turn professional and was one of the founding members of the LPGA.

Karen (Schull) MacGee graduated from Kansas City’s Southwest High School in 1961 and was already an accomplished player in local events under the guidance of Blue Hills Pro Leland “Duke” Gibson (Hall of Fame 2013). Between 1960 and 1980 she won seven Missouri Women’s Amateurs, five Kansas Women’s Amateurs, and seven Kansas City Match Play Championships. She joined the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Marian Gault lead the Kansas City Golf Association’s Junior Girl’s program for thirteen years, recruiting young players and encouraging them to play the game she loved. She won the Missouri Women’s Amateur in 1952 and ’55 and was runner-up four other times. She won the Kansas City Women’s Match Play six times, was runner-up in three other appearances, and was a qualifying medalist eight times. Gault was recognized as the area’s top woman player in 1948, ’52, ’54, and ’55 and was the first recipient of the Missouri Women’s Golf Association’s Bernice Edlund Award for outstanding conduct, demeanor, and sportsmanship.

Jean Pepper dominated the women’s game in this area between 1934 and 1942. She won the Women’s Match Play Championship in 1934, ’36 and ’37 then won three-in-a-row from 1939 – ’41. Her losses in those years were to fellow Hall of Famers Opal Hill (1938) and Marian Gault (1942). She had bested Gault in the 1941 final.  In the Missouri Women’s Amateur, she captured medalist honors in 1939 and ’40 on her way to three consecutive titles from ’39 to ’41. She joined the Hall of Fame in the class of 2018.

Maxine Johnson virtually “owned” the game in and around Kansas City in the period following the Second World War. In the 1950, ’51, and ’52 Women’s Match Play Championships she was runner-up to Marian Gault, but she went on to capture seven titles between 1953 and 1962. She won the Missouri Women’s Amateur in 1951 and was runner-up in 1956 and defeated Hall of Famer Karen (Schull) MacGee for the 1957 title. Playing against the stars of the LPGA in the KC Women’s Open, she was low amateur in 1956 and never finished worse than T-5 (amateur) in the six years in which she competed.

Mary Jane Barnes was the first woman to lead the Kansas City Golf Association as president (2001 – 2003) and her tenure marked a significant turning point for the organization. Under her leadership, the KCGA hired its first full-time Executive Director, expanded tournament opportunities for local players, and increased services to member clubs. Ms. Barnes qualified for three USGA Championships and was the Women’s Club Champion at Kansas City Country Club an unprecedented eighteen times. She served on the USGA’s Women’s Mid-Amateur Committee for 25 years and received the prestigious Ike Granger Award in 2014.

These outstanding Kansas Citians are representative of the many great (and near-great) players who have graced the fairways of the golf courses in our region. The Board of Directors of Central Links Golf is committed to recognizing the accomplishments of all the people, male and female, who continue to distinguish themselves through their accomplishments in the game we all love.

“The goal of the Hall of Fame is to preserve our past and honor the accomplishments of those who made golf in this area great,” said Greg Dunn, president of Central Links Golf. “Our classes of inductees have included amateurs, professionals, men and women, contemporary as well as historic figures, pioneers, golf administrators, superintendents, and teachers. We are very proud that our Hall of Fame is all-inclusive and has recognized the greatest of those who have contributed so much to the enjoyment of our game.”

Kansas Golf Hall of Fame

A number of outstanding women have been inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame since its founding in 1991. Several professionals, a number of amateurs, and two who were recognized for their contributions to the game. What follows is a brief summary of the accomplishments and contributions of these individuals.

Deb Richard is one of only three Kansas women to have won a USGA Championship as the winner of the 1984 US Women’s Amateur. From 1979 to ’84 she was tough to beat on the local scene having won the Kansas Junior Girls (1979) the State High School Championship (1979, ’80, and “81), and the Kansas Women’s Amateur (1982 and ’83). At the University of Florida, she won seven tournaments, three SEC Championships, and was All-American from 1983-’85.  She won five times on the LPGA Tour before retiring in 2005. She was enshrined into the Kansas Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marge Page joined the Kansas Hall of Fame in 2004 as a Contributor to the Game. She organized the Wichita Junior Golf Foundation in 1973 to give low-income children the opportunity to learn the game of golf. Ms. Page donated or raised money to pay for green fees, lessons, and equipment for the 10-17-year-old golfers and arranged for them to take lessons at public courses during the summer. Decades later, the WJGF continues to serve hundreds of young golfers each year.

Nadine Harrison served as President and Vice President of the Wichita Women’s City Golf Association as well as the President of the Women’s Trans-Mississippi Golf Association. She was appointed to the prestigious Women’s Committee of the USGA and was a rules official at the US Women’s Open and the Curtis Cup. In 1958 she received the Mike Murra Achievement Award recognizing her work with junior golf and promoting golf to the public in Wichita. Ms. Harrison joined the Kansas Hall of Fame in 1994.

Natasha Fife was a five-time Kansas Women’s Amateur Champion and seven-time Senior Amateur Champion along with her seven Wichita Women’s Amateurs and three Broadmoor Amateur titles. She received a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Wichita State and was named women’s athletic director there, a position she held for thirteen years. The Natasha Fife Women’s Golf scholarship, awarded to members of the WSU women’s golf team honors her dedication to the game and efforts to influence the participation of countless others. She entered the Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jean Ashley Crawford was the dominant force on the amateur golf scene in Kansas from the early 1950s to the mid-’60’s. During that time she finished in the top four in the Kansas Women’s Amateur Championship seven times, was a member of three US Curtis Cup teams (1962, ’64, and ’66) and in 1965 she defeated Anne Quast (5&4) to win the USGA Women’s Amateur Championship. Ms. Crawford was also runner-up in the national amateur on two other occasions (1960 and 1967). She served as non-playing Captain of the Curtis Cup and was on the USGA Women’s Committee. She joined the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Judy Bell accomplished more than perhaps any other woman in advancing the game of golf. Space does not allow a full accounting of her accomplishments, suffice to say, she has been inducted into six different Halls of Fame (including the World Golf HoF); received the Bob Jones Award from the USGA in 2016; was the first woman to serve as President of the USGA; competed in 38 USGA championships; won three KWGA Amateurs (the first at age 15); played on the Curtis Cup teams of 1960 and ’62; Captained the Curtis Cup teams of 1986 and ’88; the USGA Women’s State Team Championship trophy was named in her honor. She joined the Kansas Golf HoF in 1991.

Marilyn Smith holds a place of high honor among Kansas golfers, having won three consecutive Kansas Women’s Amateurs (1946-’48) and the Intercollegiate Golf Championship while playing for the University of Kansas. Smith was one of the 13 founding members of the LPGA and, as a professional, won twenty-two times including two major championships.  Ms. Smith served as president of the LPGA from 1958-’60, during which time she established the LPGA division for teaching and club professionals. After her playing career ended, she turned to teaching. She was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.

Trailblazers, pioneers, volunteers, accomplished players, and contributors who made the game of golf what it has become today. These outstanding women are representative of so many people who give of themselves to advance the standards we come to expect of ourselves and our fellow players. These Hall of Fame honorees are the “tip of the iceberg” when discussing the state of the game and its rich history in the state of Kansas. Others whose names we may not yet recognize will surely follow their example and etch their names on the trophies and plaques that commemorate the champions of tournaments made possible through Central Links Golf and its member clubs.

Standing on the shoulders of these giants, the future looks very bright, indeed.

Written by Don Kuehn, Chair
Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame Committee

February Funding Drive for Youth on Course

Did you know that Central Links Golf is responsible for funding Youth on Course in our region? Help us expand Youth on Course throughout the state of Kansas! Our goal is to raise $30,000 this February. If each of our members donated $1 we would achieve our goal. Help make golf accessible by donating below.

Salina CC Wins 2020 Kansas Cup

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Salina Country Club claimed their fifth Kansas Cup title on Sunday after defeating Great Life-Salina by a 5 to 3 margin in the championship match at Manhattan Country Club.

Warm fall temperatures and extreme winds with gusts exceeding 40 mph greeted players and made for challenging conditions.

The overall match was back and forth early with each club claiming an alternate shot match point and a singles match point.

Randy Syring and Ben Hadden took the Pro-Am Four-Ball match point for Salina CC to give them a 3 to 2 lead with three matches left on the course.

Both teams took a Net Four-Ball match point to give Salina CC a 4 to 3 lead with only the Open/Senior Mixed Scratch Four-Ball match remaining.

In the final match with Salina CC maintaining a 1 up lead with two holes to play, Salina CC’s Coleman Houk, the men’s golf coach at Kansas Wesleyan University, stuffed his tee shot on the par 3 17th hole to a couple feet for a tap in birdie to take the match point and secure the overall match victory for Salina Country Club.

Thank you to the 16 member clubs that participated in the COVID-19 modified Kansas Cup competition in 2020 and we look forward to seeing everyone in the 2021 Kansas Cup!

Champions Crowned at 32nd Senior Four-Ball Championship

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Two wonderful days of weather greeted the full field of teams for the playing of the 32nd Kansas Senior Four-Ball Championship at The Jayhawk Club in Lawrence on Wednesday and Thursday. Teams took advantage of ideal scoring conditions during the first multi-day championship played at the redesigned property that was formerly Alvamar Golf & Country Club.

In the Senior Division, defending champions Sid McKnight & Andy Emerson successfully defended their title following a final round 9-under par 62. McKnight/Emerson finished the 36-hole championship at 15-under par 127 total which was good for a five shot victory. 2018 Senior Four-Ball Champions Matt Murray & David Rismiller took second and team of Chris Hutchens & Dane Ogden took third.

In the Super Senior Division, veteran golfers Tom Bachelor and Don Kuehn bested the field by one shot after finishing at 11-under par 131 total which included a final round 5-under par 66. The win was the second of the year for Bachelor who teamed up to win the Senior Team Championship last month at Falcon Lakes Golf Club. The win gave Kuehn his fifth Senior Four-Ball Championship title with five different partners.

Thank you to the teams, Central Links Golf rules volunteers and the membership & staff at The Jayhawk Club.

We look forward to the 2021 Senior Four-Ball Championship at Topeka Country Club!

Staley Farms wins Women’s KC Cup

A thrilling season of the Women’s KC Cup concluded today at Lakewood Oaks Country Club with Staley Farms Golf Club winning this year’s Cup.

Staley Farms defeated The Deuce with a final result of 2-1.

The first match, the Low Handicap match, was won by Staley Farms with a result of 2&1.

The second match, the Mid Handicap match, was won by The Deuce with a result of 2UP.

The third match, the High Handicap match, was won by Staley Farms with a result of 2&1.

This is Staley Farms 4th Women’s KC Cup victory in 5 years – quite an impressive feat!

Thank you to Lakewood Oaks Country Club for hosting the Championship matches today and thank you to all of the clubs who participated in this year’s Women’s KC Cup!

You can check out the results here: https://centrallinksgolf.org/competitions/womens-kc-cup/

Thayer, Emerson Win Senior Series Titles

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Senior Cup Teams

The 2020 Senior Series program wrapped up on Tuesday with two wonderful days of weather at Firekeeper Golf Course.

Garden City’s Sean Thayer – Senior Champion

Garden City’s Sean Thayer continued his stellar play this year with another victory in the Senior Division. Thayer posted a final round 4-under par 68 to finish at 5-under par 139 total. Wichita’s Tracy Chamberlin took second at 2-under par 142 total. John Bailey, Michael Rack, Sam Walker and David Oetken rounded out the top five.

The 2020 Ozark Senior Challenge cup team was named following the Senior Series Championship. The Ozark Senior Challenge is an annual Ryder Cup style team event against the Missouri Golf Association for players age 50 to 64. The 2020 competition will be held at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Joplin, MO on October 13-15. Click the link above to see the gross and net qualifiers and the captain picks.

In the Super Senior Division, Baldwin City’s John Emerson claimed his first tournament title. Emerson’s final round 3-under par 69 elevated him to the top after finishing at 1-under par 143 total. Basehor’s Sam VanLandingham finished two shots back. Doug Kaup, Joe Rothwell and Tom Nielsen all tied for third place.

Baldwin City’s John Emerson – Super Senior Champion

The 2020 Association Senior Cup team was named for the Super Senior Division following the Senior Series Championship as well. The Association Senior Cup is an annual Ryder Cup style team event against the Missouri Golf Association for players age 65 & older. The 2020 competition will be held at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Joplin, MO on October 13-15. Click the link above to see the gross and net qualifiers and the captain picks.

Champions Crowned at Mid-Am Team/Sr Team Championships

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A full field of teams battled tough playing conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday at the 2020 Mid-Am Team & Senior Team Championships at Falcon Lakes Golf Club in Basehor.  Warm summer conditions gave way to cold, overcast and damp conditions during opening day of the championship and persisted until the final putt was holed at the 54-hole event.

In the Mid-Am Team, Overland Park’s Park Ulrich and Leawood’s Doug Albers teamed up for the first time and put together a dominating performance of the rest of the field of teams.  Ulrich and Albers finished at 18-under par which was good for a nine shot victory over the teams of Matt Kelley/Jordan Smith and Pete Krsnich/Tyler Chapman. 

It was the third championship of the 2020 season for Ulrich who captured the 110th Kansas Amateur in July and the Heart of America Four-Ball last week with partner Davis Cooper.  It was the second time that Albers has won the Mid-Am Team.  He won the 2010 event with partner Jason Seeman.

In the Senior Team Championship, the Wichita duo of Tracy Chamberlin & Michael Holloway edged Brian Burris & Randy Vautravers by one shot.  Chamberlin/Holloway finished at 10-under par 206 for the 54-hole championship. 

In the Super Senior Division, past champions Tom Bachelor & Gary Roles partnered up for an eight shot win.  Bachelor/Roles finished at 14-under par 202 total.  Greg Goode & Don Kuehn finished in second at 6-under par 210.

Thank you to the membership and staff at Falcon Lakes Golf Club for hosting the rescheduled 2020 championship.  We look forward to seeing everyone in Wichita in May 2021 for the Mid-Am Team & Senior Team Championship!

Ulrich and Cooper win HOA Four-Ball

A great two days of competition at Lawrence Country Club concluded today with the team of Park Ulrich and Davis Cooper winning the Heart of America Four-Ball Championship. Ulrich and Cooper defeated the team of Zach Sokolosky and Grant Herrenbruck in the final match by a result of 4&3. The final match was an intense one, highlighted by the exciting finish – on hole 14, a drivable par 4, Grant Herrenbruck made a birdie but was matched by Davis Cooper with a chip-in, which kept the side of Ulrich and Cooper 3UP at that point. On the 15th hole, which ended up being the final hole, Davis Cooper continued his momentum by holing a 20-footer for birdie to close out the match. After the round, Ulrich and Cooper was ecstatic to have won: “I’m so glad we won – I’ve wanted to win this event real bad, it’s one I haven’t won, so for Davis and I to come out on top was awesome”, Park Ulrich told us.

In Tuesday’s round of 16 and round of 8 matches, the team of Ulrich/Cooper defeated the team of Flanagan/Kagy by a result of 3&1, followed by a 3&2 victory over the team of S. Mason/Sapporito. The team of Herrenbruck/Sokolosky defeated the team of Hermeston/Wiltse by a result of 3&2, followed by another 3&2 victory over the team of Grove/Williams.

In the semifinal matches on Wednesday morning, the team of Ulrich/Cooper won their match by a result of 2&1 over the team of Clifford/Frederes in style, with Davis Cooper chipping in for a birdie on the 17th hole to close out the match. In the other semifinal match, the team of Herrenbruck/Sokolosky defeated the team of McHenry/Beckler by a result of 2&1 in a round that included 7 birdies and an eagle made by the winning squad of Herrenbruck/Sokolosky.

Thank you to Lawrence Country Club and all our volunteers for making this event possible! To view the final results, click here: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/2343873

Hillier Wins High Plains Amateur


University of Kansas golfer Harry Hillier took the 2020 High Plains Amateur Championship on Sunday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City. Hillier, a native of New Zealand, used a final round 6-under par 66 to best the field on his way to victory. Hillier finished the 36-hole championship at 7-under par 137 total.

2019 High Plains Amateur champion and Washburn University golfer Andrew Beckler of Topeka finished in the runner-up position. KU golfer Sion Audrain, Manhattan mid-am Brian Fehr and Washburn golfer Dawson Wills rounded out the top five in the Open Division.

In the Masters Division, Wakeeney’s Justin Sherfick posted a final round 5-under par 67 to take the division championship by two shots over past champion Sean Robertson of Salina.

In the Senior Division, Salina’s Greg Goode continued his winning ways with a two shot victory of Garden City’s Sean Thayer.

Thank you to the full field of players and to the staff at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course for hosting the 2020 championship! We look forward to seeing everyone at Mariah Hills Golf Course in Dodge City for the 2021 High Plains Amateur.

Jolliffe, Goode Take Kansas Senior Amateur Titles

Results, Prize Distribution & Skins
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Wichita’s Mark Jolliffe added his name to the Dick Scholfield Trophy by besting the full field of players at the 40th Kansas Senior Amateur Championship on Tuesday at Crestview Country Club (North Course). Jolliffe, 51, posted rounds of 73-68–141 to edge 2019 Senior Amateur Champion Michael Holloway and 2015 Senior Amateur Champion Tim McKinnis by a single shot. Garden City’s Sean Thayer and Wichita’s Steve Newman rounded out the top five.

In the Super Senior Division, Salina’s Greg Goode added to his trophy case with another championship win. Goode, the 2018 & 2019 Kansas Senior Player of the Year and 2018 Kansas Super Senior Amateur Champion lapped the field for a three shot win. Goode posted rounds of 72-69–141 to win by three shots over Council Grove’s Tim Tyner. Lawrence’s Dick Stuntz took third in the Super Senior division.

Thank you to the membership and staff at Crestview Country Club for hosting the 40th Kansas Senior Amateur! We look forward to seeing everyone at Falcon Lakes Golf Club in 2021 for the 41st Kansas Senior Amateur.