KOHLER, Wis. – Juli Inkster will equal a U.S. Women’s Open record with her first tee shot Thursday at Blackwolf Run.
It will mark her 33rd appearance in the championship, tying Marlene Hagge for most U.S. Women’s Open appearances.
Inkster, 52, remembers her first U.S. Women’s Open appearance at the Country Club of Indianapolis in 1978. She was an 18-year-old amateur.
“It might have been the first time I was out of California,” Inkster said.
Inkster’s enduring memory of that experience comes from the driving range.
“I remember the brand new Titleists on the range,” Inkster said. “I think every day I stuck about 10 of them in my bag. I took home about 70 golf balls. I didn’t care that they said ‘practice’ on them. I had never seen so many new golf balls in my life.”
A two-time U.S. Women’s Open winner, Inkster is making a comeback from an elbow injury. This will mark just her second LPGA event since doctors surgically repaired a torn tendon and ulnar nerve in her right elbow back in January. She missed the cut in Arkansas in her return last week.
Inkster went about three months without hitting golf balls but got to spend a lot of time with her husband, Brian, and her two daughters, Hayley and Cori. Hayley graduated from college this spring, Cori from high school.
Brian is caddying for Inkster for the first time in a couple years.
“You get what you pay for,” Inkster cracked.
Inkster knows all about persevering in this event. She didn’t win her first U.S. Women’s Open title until her 20th start in the championship. She broke through to win at Old Waverly in Mississippi in 1999. She was 39. She won it again three years later at Prairie Dunes in Kansas.
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