Dorothy Germain Porter: Profile of Amateur Golf Champ

Dorothy Germain Porter was a competitive tournament golfer from the 1930s into the 1990s, from her mid-teens into her 70s. She won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, but eschewed turning professional even after the creation of the LPGA Tour.

Full name: Dorothy Germain Porter

Date of birth: April 3, 1924

Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date and place of death: July 20, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nickname: Dot

Also known as: Dorothy Germain, before she married; Dorothy Germain Porter; Dot Porter. After marriage, she was also sometimes referred to in newspapers (and old golf books) as Mrs. Mark A. Porter.

Porter's Biggest Wins

  • 1943 Women's Western Amateur
  • 1944 Women's Western Amateur
  • 1946 Pennsylvania Women's Amateur
  • 1949 U.S. Women's Amateur
  • 1952 Pennsylvania Women's Amateur
  • 1955 Pennsylvania Women's Amateur
  • 1967 Women's Western Amateur
  • 1967 New Jersey Women's Amateur
  • 1969 Eastern Amateur
  • 1977 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
  • 1980 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
  • 1981 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
  • 1983 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur
Porter also won the Philadelphia Women's Amateur nine times: 1946, 1956, 1959, 1962, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1983, 1992.

In the U.S. Women's Amateur

When Dorothy Germain Porter won the 1949 U.S. Women's Amateur, she was the first mother to do so since Glenna Collett Vare in 1935. Porter's first child was one year old, and she was a couple months pregnant with her second.

Porter's road to the final in 1949 went through some big names. In the Round of 16, she defeated Estelle Lawson Page, 1-up, on the 21st hole. In the semifinals, she beat Dorothy Kirby, 3 and 1. Page won the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1937; Kirby went on to win in 1951.

Dot Kielty, Porter's foe in the final, was coming off a win in the Women's Western Amateur and, like Porter would be, was a Curtis Cup player. But in the championship match, Porter handled her by a 3-and-2 score. Kielty made several charges in the latter stages of the match, but Porter's bunker game and putting kept closing off Kielty's chances.

An International News Service report on the championship match referred to Porter as "tall, willowy" and "happy-go-lucky." In her title defense in 1950, Porter lost in the second round. She did not make any other finals in the U.S. Women's Amateur, but reached the semifinals in 1959.

She first played the USWA in 1939 at age 15. Her first match victory was in 1941 when she made it to the quarterfinals before losing to her lifelong Philadelphia rival Helen Sigel.

In 1953, Porter went out to Mary Lena Faulk in the fourth round. In 1957 she lost in the quarterfinals after beating Clifford Ann Creed in the Round of 16. She lost in the quarterfinals again in 1970.

Porter's competitive years in the U.S. Women's Amateur stretched from the 1930s into the 1970s. In 1971, the 47-year-old Porter lost in the Round of 16 to the eventual champion, 16-year-old Laura Baugh.

More About Dorothy Porter

Dorothy Germain was born into a well-to-do Philadelphia family that had membership at Llanerch Country Club. She began playing golf at age 11 due to her father's passion for the game, but was a multi-sport athlete as a child. She played several sports at Upper Darby High School, including field hockey, which she continued playing at the local university then known as Beaver College (now Arcadia University). Germain graduated from that college in 1946, by which time she had won big titles and twice battled Babe Didrikson Zaharias in championship matches.

Her first tournament win of note was the 1939 Philadelphia Girls Junior, the same year Germain debuted in the U.S. Women's Amateur at age 15. She won that tournament twice more, in 1940 and 1941.

And Germain didn't stop winning golf tournaments in Philadelphia until the 1990s.

The first national notice for Germain came when she won the 1943 Women's Western Amateur, one of the biggest tournament titles for women at that time. She repeated as champ in 1944 (and won a third time 23 years later), but Germain also played the Women's Western Open in 1944 and 1945. That was a tournament that today is retroactively classified as a major championship by the LPGA Tour.

In both years, Germain reached the championship match only to find the Babe waiting for her. And both times, Didrikson Zaharias got the better of her: The score was 7 and 5 in the 1944 final, 4 and 2 in 1945.

In 1946, Germain married Mark Porter, also an amateur golf competitor. They eventually had three children, each of whom grew up to win the club championship at Riverton Country Club in New Jersey. Up to that point she had competed as Dorothy Germain, from that point she was known as Dorothy Porter or Dorothy Germain Porter.

That year Porter won the first of her nine victories in the Philadelphia Women's Amateur, and the first of her three victories in the Pennsylvania Women's Amateur.

Porter was 26 years old when the LPGA Tour was created in 1950, but she never turned pro to play the tour. (She did finish as low amateur in the 1952 U.S. Women's Open.) In 1996, talking to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, Porter explained:

"I preferred being married and having children and all that. ... I'm glad to this day that was my choice."
Porter continued winning titles in the 1950s and 1970s in the Philadelphia Women's Amateur, and in the 1960s she took titles in the New Jersey State Women's Amateur and the Eastern Amateur.

Her second USGA championship came in 1977 when Porter won the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, beating Alice Dye by one stroke. Porter also won that title in 1980, 1981 (Dye was runner-up again), and, at age 59, in 1983.

The U.S. Senior Women's Amateur launched in 1962, and when Porter won it in 1977 she became the first U.S. Women's Amateur champion to also win the Senior title. She was the second golfer to win the Senior at least four times, and today remains one of five golfers to do so. (Carolyn Cudone holds the tournament record with five wins.)

And Porter's five career wins in USGA championships is tied for seventh-most among women golfers all-time.

Porter was a member of Team USA in the 1950 Curtis Cup, the only time she played in that international match. She partnered with Beverly Hanson to win a foursomes match, and halved with Frances Stephens in singles.

Porter was the captain of Team USA in the 1966 Curtis Cup, a 13-5 American win. She also captained Team USA in the 1984 World Women's Amateur Team Championship for the Espirito Santo Trophy. Her squad of Heather Farr, Deb Richard and Jody Rosenthal won the gold medal.

Porter also served on the USGA Women's Committee, and on the boards of the Women's Trans-Mississippi Golf Association and Women's Western Golf Association over the years.

Porter is a member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, New Jersey State Golf Association Hall of Fame and Arcadia University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Porter's niece, Dot Germain, played on the LPGA Tour in the 1970s and 1980s and won the 1980 LPGA S&H Golf Classic. Porter's daughter Nancy Porter was an accomplished amateur golfer, too, and played her way into several U.S. Women's Opens. Nancy scored holes-in-one in the USWO in both 1972 and 1976.

The Women's Golf Association of Philadelphia still today plays the annual Dorothy Porter Invitational. It's a tournament that Porter herself won seven times, in 1984, 1985, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997.

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