Who Was the First International Winner of the U.S. Women's Open?

Stamp featuring Fay Crocker first international winner of US Womens Open
American golfers dominated the first several decades of the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament. Not surprising: The tournament dates to 1947, and it wasn't until the 1970s that international golfers (golfers from outside the United States in this case) started playing the LPGA Tour in numbers.

And beginning in the 1980s, international winners of the U.S. Women's Open became commonplace. That was due to the likes of Jan Stephenson of Australia, Laura Davies of England and Liselotte Neumann of Sweden. Later came Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb.

But who was the first international golfer, the first non-American, to win the USGA's national championship for women golfers?

Fay Crocker. If you just asked yourself, "who?" don't worry. Crocker is one of the overlooked stars of the LPGA's early history. Crocker, from Uruguay, won the 1955 U.S. Women's Open, becoming its first international champ and first South American champ.

She was almost 40 years old by the time the LPGA Tour got started, but still managed 11 career wins, including two major championship wins. Crocker still holds a couple of tour records, too: oldest golfer to win for the first time on the LPGA, and oldest winner of an LPGA major (she was 45 when she won the 1960 Titleholders Championship).

In Crocker's win at the 1955 U.S. Women's Open, she also established a first: first golfer to break 70 in a USWO round, which she did with a third-round 68.

The 1955 U.S. Women's Open was the 10th one played. What other milestones have there been for international winners in the tournament? Here are some:

  • First European winner and first French winner: Catherine Lacoste, 1967
  • First Australian winner: Jan Stephenson, 1983
  • First English winner and first U.K. winner: Laura Davies, 1987
  • First Swedish winner: Liselotte Neumann, 1988
  • First Asian winner and first Korean winner: Se Ri Pak, 1998
  • First Thai winner: Ariya Jutanugarn, 2018

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