Largest Margins of Victory in the U.S. Women's Open

What is the U.S. Women's Open tournament record for biggest victory? We're talking about the widest gap between first and second place — the largest margins of victory. That is a whopping 14 strokes, a record set in a USWO that was played before the LPGA Tour even existed, before the USGA even ran the tournament.

Louise Suggs won the 1949 U.S. Women's Open by 14 strokes over runner-up Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Suggs carded two of the lowest scores to that point in USWO history, a 69 in the first round and a 70 in the final round, while the Babe could only manage an 80 in the fourth round.

The U.S. Women's Open was first played in 1946. It was founded by the WPGA, a short-lived women's professional tour that predated the LPGA. When the WPGA folded after the 1949 season, the LPGA was created in 1950 and took over the tournament. The United States Golf Association didn't become the steward of the U.S. Women's Open until 1953.

The List: U.S. Women's Open Largest Winning Margins

  • 14 strokes — Louise Suggs won the 1949 USWO at 291, runner-up Babe Didrikson Zaharias was at 305
  • 12 strokes — Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the 1954 USWO at 291, runner-up Betty Hicks was at 303
  • 9 strokes — Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the 1950 USWO at 291, runner-up Betsy Rawls (still an amateur) was at 300
  • 9 strokes — Amy Alcott won the 1980 USWO at 280, runner-up Hollis Stacy was at 289
  • 8 strokes — Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the 1948 USWO at 300, runner-up Betty Hicks was at 308
  • 8 strokes — Karrie Webb won the 2001 USWO at 273, runner-up Se Ri Pak was at 281
  • 7 strokes — Louise Suggs won the 1952 USWO at 284, runners-up Marlene Bauer and Betty Jameson were at 291
  • 7 strokes — JoAnne Carner won the 1971 USWO at 288, runner-up Kathy Whitworth was at 295
Of the eight times in tournament history a golfer won with a margin of victory of seven strokes or more, five of them happened in 1954 or earlier — the very earliest days of women's professional golf.

Since 1970, the largest margin of victory in any U.S. Women's Open is the nine strokes by Amy Alcott in 1980. Alcott opened 8-shot lead by shooting 70-70-68 in the first three rounds.

All eight of the winning golfers in the list above are today members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. And with one exception, all of the runners-up listed are World Golf Hall of Fame members. So it's not like the champs were running away from weak challengers. (The one exception is Betty Hicks, who is a member of some other halls of fame, including the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame.)

Zaharias' 12-stroke win in 1954 is worth singling out. She won that tournament by that large margin just one month after undergoing surgery for colon cancer, and while wearing a colostomy bag. It was the last of her 10 wins in major championships. Zaharias won a couple more LPGA events afterward, but died a little more than two years after that 1954 U.S. Women's Open win.

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