Golfer Carolyn Hill: Holder of All-Time LPGA Record

Carolyn Hill won only once on the LPGA Tour. But that one victory got this U.S. Women's Amateur champ into the pro record books: When she won in 1994, she set an LPGA Tour record for most starts before earning one's first victory.

Date of birth: February 1, 1959

Place of birth: Santa Monica, California

Her U.S. Amateur Win and Amateur Career

The biggest win of Hill's career, amateur or pro, was the 1979 U.S. Women's Amateur championship, which she won at age 20. And she won in dominating fashion: She needed only 103 holes to win her six matches. That is the fewest holes required to win the U.S. Women's Amateur in any tournament since 1973.

Hill's victory margins included 6-and-5 in the quarterfinals and 5-and-4 in the semifinals. In the championship match, future LPGA superstar and Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan awaited. Hill won the opening hole when Sheehan three-putted, and led 4-up at the end of the morning 18. In the afternoon 18, Hill shot 33 on the front nine and took a 6-up lead to the final nine. The match ended on the 30th hole.

A year earlier Hill was part of the victorious Team USA in the 1978 Curtis Cup.

Hill's earliest successes in big, amateur tournaments came in her early and mid-teens. At age 14, she was medalist in the California State Amateur. At 15, she was medalist in the 1974 USGA Girls Junior. In college, Hill won three NCAA tournaments at the University of Miami from 1976 through 1978, and was All-American in 1977. She spent her final year playing at Tulsa, where she was All-American again in 1979 after posting nine Top 10 finishes (a then-school record).

Hill's LPGA Tour Wins

Hill is credited with one official win on the LPGA Tour:
  • 1994 McCall's LPGA Classic

In the Majors

Hill never recorded a Top 10 finish in an LPGA major. Her best showing was a tie for 14th place in the 1989 Women's PGA Championship (then called the LPGA Championship). Her best finish in the U.S. Women's Open was a tie for 24th place in 1995.

Hill finished runner-to Nancy Lopez (who had a final-round 64) at the 1981 Colgate Dinah Shore. That is the tournament that was later named Kraft Nabisco Championship and ANA Inspiration, a major championship. However, in 1981 it had not yet been elevated to major status.

More About Carolyn Hill

Hill grew up in California and started playing golf there at age 7. By 14, as we learned above, she started making her mark in junior and amateur golf. After winning the biggest amateur tournament for women in the world, the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1979, Hill turned pro the next year.

In her rookie LPGA season of 1980, Hill posted a second-place finish in the Barth Classic, two strokes behind winner Sandra Spuzich. She finished 41st on the money list and second in the Rookie of the Year race.

In 1981, Hill added that runner-up finish at the Colgate Dinah Shore. She improved to 21st on the money list and her first win seemed just around the corner. But 21st remained, easily, Hill's best finish on the money list in her career. She did not finish higher than sixth in any tournament the rest of the 1980s, and many years struggled to retain her LPGA card.

But in 1994, all the work and all the waiting paid off. In her 359th career LPGA start, Hill won the 1994 McCall's LPGA Classic. She earned it, too, firing a 65 in the third round and a 69 in the final round to win by three strokes. Hill still holds the all-time LPGA record for most career starts before getting win No. 1. Hill finished 46th on the money list that year.

Unfortunately, a 1996 car accident that caused back injuries hastened the end of her LPGA tournament career. She last appeared in a an LPGA Tour tournament in 2001. (Although Hill did play her way into the 2020 Women's LPGA Championship, at age 61, by virtue of a Top 8 finish in the LPGA T&CP National Championship for club professionals.) For her LPGA career, Hill had one win, two runner-up finishes, and seven Top 10 finishes.

From 1996-98, Hill served as a member of the LPGA Tour Executive Committee. After retiring from tournament golf, Hill became a teaching professional and worked at prestigious Riviera Country Club in California.

Popular posts from this blog