Golfer June Beebe: Winner of Two LPGA Majors

June Beebe was a Chicago-area golf champion of the 1930s who, today, is quite obscure. In her own time, she rarely competed outside of Chicago. But she did have two wins in an early women's open tournament that give her a lasting legacy: Beebe was a 2-time LPGA major championship winner.

Also known as: Her married name, June Beebe Atwood or June Atwood; often referred to in print during her playing days, after marriage, as Mrs. Phillip Atwood.

Date of birth: March 27, 1913

Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois

Date and place of death: November 10, 2003, in Kenilworth Illinois

Beebe's Biggest Wins

  • 1931 Women's Western Open
  • 1933 Chicago Women's District Golf Association Championship
  • 1933 Women's Western Open
  • 1935 Chicago Women's District Golf Association Championship

More About June Beebe

June Beebe's father was a golf professional in Chicago, and she got into the game playing at her father's club. Her first tournament performance of note was finishing runner-up in the Women's Western Junior Championship in 1928, when she was 15.

Two years later, at age 17 and playing out of Olympia Fields, Beebe reached the championship match of the Women's Western Open before losing to Lucia Mida. That was the first year the Women's Western Open was played. The tournament ran until 1967, and when the LPGA Tour formed in 1950 it recognized the WWO as one of its premiere tournaments.

Much later, the LPGA Tour decided to retroactively recognize all winners of the WWO as LPGA major champions. That's why Beebe's two wins qualify her to be called an LPGA major winner.

Win No. 1 was in 1931 (she was a co-ed at Northwestern University at the time), when Beebe defeated Mrs. Melvin Jones in the final, 3 and 2. Two years later, playing on her home course at Olympia Fields, Beebe won her second Women's Western Open, 3 and 2 over Jane Weiller in the final. In-between her two wins, Beebe was runner-up in 1932. She also had two runner-up showings in the Chicago Women's District Association Championship, to go along with her two wins in that event.

Beebe won many other Women's Western Golf Association and Chicago Women's District Golf Association events through the years: One newspaper article from 1933 noted that Beebe was recently the "winner of three straight Western events in less than three weeks." She entered the U.S. Women's Amateur several times but failed to make it out of the first round of match play.

Beebe was often described in newspaper articles of the time as "diminutive." A 1935 article noted that she weighed 103 pounds. She married in 1934, and her competitive golf tournament days ended a couple years later when her daughter was born.

She stayed involved in the Chicago golf scene, however, serving in 1961-62 as president of the Women's Western Golf Association. At that time, Beebe was a member at Exmoor Country Club.

Late in her life, Beebe was one of the earliest recipients of the WWGA's Woman of Distinction Award, which was first presented in 1994. She was 90 years old when she died in 2003.

Here's a fun piece of trivia about Beebe: According to a newspaper report from the Universal Press, on November 2, 1930, Beebe was crowned the champion in what the UP called the first national miniature golf tournament. It was a match play format, played in Chicago. She beat her sister Florence 1-up to win the women's title. And then Beebe played the men's champ, M.W. Rittenhouse, for the overall championship, and won that match, too. For the prize, she won, according to the article, "a $3,500 miniature golf course, which will be delivered to her, prepaid, at any site she selects and the rent of the site will be paid for a month." No word on whether she ever had it installed.

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