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Prairie Dunes to Host Pair of USGA Senior Open Championships

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By Brian DePasquale, USGA

 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Prairie Dunes Country Club, in Hutchinson, Kan., has been chosen by the USGA as the host site for the 2029 U.S. Senior Open and 2032 U.S. Senior Women’s Open. They will be the ninth and 10th USGA championships held at the club and the first since 2006.

“The USGA is pleased to reunite with Prairie Dunes Country Club and continue what has been a long and mutually beneficial partnership that began nearly 60 years ago,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championships officer. “We know that Prairie Dunes, its surrounding community and the entire state of Kansas will be thoroughly engaged in hosting the best senior players from around the world. In addition, Prairie Dunes remains committed in its support of both amateur and professional competition.”

Prairie Dunes Country Club, located 50 miles northwest of Wichita, Kan., was founded in the mid-1930s by salt magnate Emerson Carey and his sons. The first nine holes were designed by Perry Maxwell and opened for play in 1937. Maxwell’s son, Press, was the architect of the second nine holes 20 years later. Prairie Dunes is a links-style course that reflects the common traits of rural Kansas, including sand dunes, native prairie grasses, yucca plants, cottonwoods and constant wind.

“Prairie Dunes is proud of our long-standing history of hosting USGA championships and honored to continue that privilege,” said Keith Hughes, club president. “We are so grateful that the USGA will return the U.S. Senior Open to our club in 2029 and that we will have an opportunity to host the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. We would like to thank the USGA for their continued partnership and our club family for supporting all efforts necessary to host events of this magnitude.”

The club has previously hosted eight USGA championships, including the 2006 U.S. Senior Open. Allen Doyle crafted a final-round 68 to finish at 8-under-par 272, two shots ahead of eight-time major professional champion and Kansas native Tom Watson. Doyle became the third player to win back-to-back Senior Opens.

Five-time USGA champion Juli (Simpson) Inkster also has strong ties to Prairie Dunes. She won the first of three consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur titles at the club in 1980 with a 2-up victory over Patti Rizzo in the final. She returned to Hutchinson in 2002 to claim her second U.S. Women’s Open with a closing 4-under-par 66 for a two-stroke victory over Annika Sorenstam. Inkster is joined by Jack Nicklaus (Pebble Beach Golf Links) and Matt Fitzpatrick (The Country Club) as the only players to win respective U.S. Amateur and Open championships on the same course.

Prairie Dunes has also hosted two other U.S. Women’s Amateurs, won by Barbara McIntire in 1964 and Amy Fruhwirth in 1991. The club also hosted the 1986 Curtis Cup Match, won by Great Britain and Ireland; the 1988 U.S. Mid-Amateur, won by David Eger; and the 1995 U.S. Senior Amateur, won by James Stahl Jr.

In 2014, the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship was held at Prairie Dunes, with the University of Alabama claiming the team title and Stanford University’s Cameron Wilson the individual title. The club has also hosted six Trans-Mississippi Amateurs, including the 1958 championship that was captured by Nicklaus, who went on to win 18 professional majors, including four U.S. Opens. Additionally, the club has been the site of six Kansas State Amateurs (1962, 1967, 1976, 1984, 1993, 2010) and three Kansas State Women’s Amateurs (1961, 1969, 2019).

The 2029 U.S. Senior Open and 2032 U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be the 24th and 25th USGA championships conducted in Kansas. The 3rd U.S. Adaptive Open is scheduled to be played at Sand Creek Station, in Newton, on July 8-10, 2024.

First played in 1980, the U.S. Senior Open is open to professional golfers, and amateurs with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 3.4, who are at least 50 years of age by the start of championship play. The field of 156 players will compete in two rounds of stroke play, after which the field will be reduced to the low 60 scores and ties for the final 36 holes. The 2024 championship will be held at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, June 27-30.

First played in 2018, the U.S. Senior Women’s Open is open to professional females and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday as of the first day of the championship. The field includes 120 players who compete in two rounds of stroke play, after which the field is reduced to the low 50 scores and ties for the final 36 holes. The 2024 championship will be played Aug. 1-4 at Fox Chapel Golf Club, in Pittsburgh, Pa.