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Portland Golf Club nets 2015 U.S. Women's Amateur

In 2015, Oregon will add another chapter to its history of hosting premier women’s golf tournaments.

From Aug, 10-16, Portland Golf Club plays to host to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships, an event that is free to the public. It will be the 33rd United States Golf Association championship held in Oregon and the third at Portland Golf Club.

“Portland Golf Club has a deep heritage of golf,” Ed Ellis, co-chair in charge of running the event, said Thursday. “We wanted to continue that. I talked to people at the USGA and told them that we were open to hosting anything. We had a lot of discussions, they came out and did a site review, and we talked about a lot of things."

Elllis said USGA officials eventually offered the U.S. Women's Am. We said, ‘By all means,’ " Ellis said. "The board voted for it unanimously.

“It’s good for the community, it’s good for us and we’re proud to do it.”

Jack Folliard, the Pac-12 football referee who has been a member of PGC for nearly 30 years, will serve as a co-chair of the event.

“We’re really looking forward to the organizational side of things,” Folliard said. “It’s a big project. Luckily, we have 2 1/2 years before the event actually comes off.”

During the 2015 tournament, Oregon will be in the midst of one of the busiest months for women’s sports in state history.

“With Oregon hosting the Little League Softball World Series, the LPGA Tour and the Women’s Amateur all during the same month, Oregon will be the mecca for women’s sports and women’s golf in August 2015,” said Drew Mahalic, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority, one of the event partners.

The U.S. Women’s Am is expected to feature players from about 20 countries, including perhaps Gigi Stoll, a Beaverton High sophomore who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open as a 15-year-old last year. PCG is Stoll's home course.

“It’s a big advantage to be able to play on your home course with your family and friends there to support you, and it’s an advantage to know the course that well," Beaverton High coach Donna Smoot said.

Stoll would figure to have stiff competition from both U.S. and international players. Korean Consulate John Bates said he is eager to welcome players from South Korea to Oregon.

The Koreans "are an amazing group of young ladies,” Bates said. “They’re very competitive, they’re great golfers and they’re fun young ladies to be with.”

Smoot, who qualified for two U.S. Amateurs during her playing days, said the tournament could have enormous ramifications for Washington County and golf fans across the state.

“It’s a huge announcement to have a USGA tournament in your community,” Smoot said. “When I played years and years ago, I learned that it’s like a professional event. You’re going to have players from around the world representing many different countries, and to have that right in your neighborhood, it doesn’t happen very often.

“Portland Golf Club is the perfect course for the Women’s Amateur. It’s deceptively long and challenging, and it has a great history of hosting important tournaments. It has been called the greatest short course in the world.

"Fans are going to see the next great players on the LPGA Tour. We have a big-time tournament, a wonderful golf course and a local favorite. For Oregon golf fans, it doesn’t get any better than that.”