Fourteen-year-old Curtis Cupper Michelle Wie will command most of the attention, but she will be joined by other Curtis Cuppers Paula Creamer, Liz Janagelo, Brittany Lang, Jane Park, Sarah Huarte and Annie Thurman. Yet another Curtis Cupper, Erica Blasberg, turned professional recently and thus is ineligible.
A record 868 contestants entered this years championship. The previous record was 814, set in 2003.
Thirty-nine women are exempt into this years event by virtue of their play in past USGA womens events, including the Curtis Cup, U.S. Girls Junior, U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links and U.S. Womens Open. This year's womens am will be played Aug. 9-15 at the Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa.
Representatives of 13 other nations have either qualified or were fully exempt for the U.S. Womens Amateur. The countries represented include Australia; Argentina; Canada; Chinese Taipei; Colombia; Korea; Mexico; Paraguay; the Peoples Republic of China; the Philippines; Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela.
The U.S. Womens Amateur is open to female amateurs who have USGA Handicap Indexes not exceeding 5.4. Last years winner, 22-year-old Virada Nirapathpongporn, was one of the foreign-born contingent. The former Duke University student was from Bangkok, Thailand. She defeated 16-year-old Jane Park in the scheduled 36-hole final match, 2 and 1.
Nirapathpongporn has turned professional and will not defend her title.
Carol Semple Thomson will return again this year, having won this championship 31 years ago in 1973.
Several amateurs who were in this year's U.S. Women's Open will compete, including Creamer, Wie, Jennifer Ackerson, Sweden's Niloufar Aazam-Zanganeh , Aimee Cochran, Megan Grehan, Jennie Lee, Taylor Leon, Brittany Lincicome, Tina Miller, In-Bee Park, Jane Park, Kim Shin, and Briana Vega.
Other USGA champions, both past and present, who will play include Amber Marsh Elliot, 2003 Womens Mid-Am champion; Paraguay's Julieta Granada, the 2004 Girls Junior champion, Kathy Hartwiger, 2002 Womens Mid-Am champion;
Canada's Marlene Streit , 2003 USGA Senior Womens Amateur champion; Chinese Taipei's Ya-Ni Tseng, 2004 Womens Amateur Public Links champion; Wie, the 2003 Womens Amateur Public Links champion;; and Sukjin-Lee Wuesthoff; 2003 Girls Junior champion.
Elisa Serramia of Spain, the 2003 Ladies British Amateur champion, is also in the field.
The champion receives an exemption from sectional qualifying for U.S. Womens Amateur Championships for the next 10 years; an exemption from sectional qualifying for 10 years to the U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur Championship, an exemption from sectional qualifying for the next 10 U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links Championships, and an exemption from sectional qualifying for the next two U.S. Womens Open Championships. This assumes she is otherwise eligible at each juncture..
Several Womens Amateur champions have recorded three consecutive wins: Glenna Collett Vare, Beatrix Hoyt, Alexa Stirling, Virginia Van Wie, and Juli Simpson Inkster won the Womens Amateur three times consecutively.
Genevieve Hecker, Dorothy Campbell, Margaret Curtis, Betty Jameson, Kay Cockerill and Kelli Kuehne won the championship two times in a row.
Vare won the Womens Amateur title a record six times. JoAnne Gunderson Carner won the championship five times and won an impressive total of eight USGA Championships (five Womens Amateur titles, two U.S. Womens Opens, and one U.S. Girls Junior).
Other prominent past champions include Patty Berg; Betty Jameson, Babe Didrickson Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Beth Daniel, Pat Hurst, 1990; Grace Park and Dorothy Delasin.