Oldest Winners of the U.S. Women's Open

Babe Zaharias is the oldest US Womens Open winner
Who is the oldest golfer to win the U.S. Women's Open, the premiere event in women's professional golf? It wasn't Annika Sorenstam, if that was who you were guessing. She was "only" 36 at the time of her third and final win in this major.

And it wasn't Kathy Whitworth or Mickey Wright, the two golfers with the most wins in LPGA Tour history. Or Nancy Lopez, who never won this championship. So let's find out who it was.

List of Oldest U.S. Women's Open Champions

1. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, 1954, 43 years, 7 days

The oldest winner ever in the U.S. Women's Open is the Babe. Zaharias won the 1954 U.S. Women's Open in her return to golf after cancer surgery kept her out of the tournament the previous year. She never played the tournament again after this, dying of cancer two years later.

Zaharias was the only golfer to finish under 300 at 293. She won by 12 strokes — the second-largest winning margin in tournament history — over runner-up Betty Hicks. It was her third USWO victory.

It was the 10th and final major championship win for Zaharias. It is credited today as her 38th LPGA victory, and she did win three more times, once in 1954 and twice in 1955, before the return of her cancer was discovered.

2. Juli Inkster, 2002, 42 years, 13 days

Inkster won the 2002 U.S. Women's Open by two strokes over runner-up Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam was the third-round leader, but Inkster carded a 66 in the final round to Sorenstam's 70. She finished at 4-under 276.

For Inkster, it was the 28th win of her LPGA career (she finished with 31 wins), and the last of her seven major championship victories. It was also the second major Inkster won in her 40s, something only Zaharias has done before her.

3. Meg Mallon, 2004, 41 years, 2 months, 20 days

One again, a venerable American golfer got the better of Annika Sorenstam in a U.S. Women's Open: Mallon finished two strokes ahead of runner-up Sorenstam in the 2004 U.S. Women's Open.

Mallon and Sorenstam were among those tied for second place heading into the final round. But Mallon shot 65 to Sorenstam's 67, allowing both to overtake the third-round leader Jennifer Rosales.

It was Mallon's second win in a USWO and the last of her four major championship wins. It was her 16th career win on the LPGA Tour (she finished with 18 wins).

Related article: Youngest winners of the U.S. Women's Open

Photo credit: Image of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, National Portrait Gallery, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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