EVANS, Ga. – In many ways, it was a classy and simple step into history. There were no heavy speeches or raucous cheers. No long introductions.
Just 100 or so people gathered around the first tee to watch Jennifer Kupcho kick off a new chapter in women’s golf with a stunning opening drive at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.
The words from the first-tee starter at 9 a.m. ET were familiar to golf fans around the globe: “Fore please, now driving, Jennifer Kupcho.”
The 2018 NCAA champion from Wake Forest, currently ranked No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, stepped up to the pine cone tee markers at Champions Retreat and began her quest to become the first woman to lift a trophy at Augusta National Golf Club.
LEADERBOARD: Augusta National Women’s Amateur
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On the tee, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley and Diana Murphy, the former USGA president who became the fourth female member at Augusta National, took a long look at the event’s trophy, created from spun sterling silver and a 24K yellow gold vermeil. The event’s logo and the namesake flowers of each hole at Augusta National are detailed on the elegant bowl.
Kupcho played alongside Olivia Mehaffey of Arizona State and Thai star Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand in the opening group. Threesomes tee off of Nos. 1 and 10 in the first two rounds at Champions Retreat, where a cut will be made to the top 30 players.
After the entire field plays a practice round at Augusta National, the final round will be conducted over the iconic course on Saturday.
That first-tee ceremony promises to be even more special as Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Lorena Ochoa are scheduled to take part.
Whatever nerves and emotions players and patrons felt Tuesday will be multiplied into the stratosphere this weekend.
This is only the beginning.