Women golfers in the Baton Rouge area have seen opportunities for their own city amateur championship come and go in recent years, but BREC is trying to fill that void beginning this weekend.
Webb Memorial golf course will host the Baton Rouge Women’s Amateur Championship with tee times starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. A field of 20 golfers will compete in three flights: mid-amateur, senior and championship.
The last women’s amateur event was more than five years ago. Jack Terry, director of BREC’s golf development program got help from a local contingent when resurrecting the tournament.
“We’ve tried to have it before but have never gotten a lot of response for what we feel should be a championship event,” Terry said. “I’ve got to give credit to some of our ladies who felt we should try to have this event.”
One of those ladies was Suzanne Seefield, a Baton Rouge resident and member of the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Baton Rouge’s chapter has fared well in the EWGA Cup series and provided a base of interest for the local amateurs.
“Suzanne is the one that really went out,” Terry said. “The tournament probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if it hadn’t been for her. I’ve got to give her a lot of credit for getting behind this.”
Seefield will be one of the favorites in the senior division while Terry picks Tracy Simoneaux as the golfer to beat in the mid-am division. The overall championship may come down to EWGA golfer Sharon Madden, and Kylie O’Brien, an eighth-grader from Zachary.
O’Brien picked up the game at age 8 and has won tournaments on the Kelly Gibson junior tour as well as competed in BREC’s junior league.
Terry is hoping to bring in more junior golfers, although many high school players have a summer tournament schedule already in place. Junior leagues stage their own tournaments, and the Baton Rouge women’s amateur is competing with an Arrowhead Junior Tour tournament in Mandeville this weekend.
The overall goal is to reach 100 golfers for the tournament, a number Terry remembers being close to when Briarwood golf course hosted a women’s championship 20 years ago.
“When I worked at Briarwood, we had 90 players for the women’s championship,” Terry said. “A lot of women have families now, and a lot of women work. It’s tough for them to get out and play golf.”
One of Terry’s responsibilities as director of golf development is to bring new players into the game. Once they begin seeing results, the next step is to introduce them to tournament play and possibly their own division at the women’s amateur.
“We don’t have 90 golfers right now, but we’re going to treat them like they’re 90,” Terry said. “They’re going to feel like it’s the best tournament they’ve ever been in.”