New schedule draws top competitors
The annual Sally (Women's South Atlantic Amateur Golf Championship) is almost 100 years old and boasts an alumnae list with many LPGA players, but this year’s field is the strongest field ever, tournament officials say.
The event is Jan. 8-11 at Oceanside Country Club, 75 N. Halifax Drive, Ormond Beach. There is no admission fee and tickets are not required.
The Sally is attracting more golfers thanks to a spot on the calendar that is friendlier to college players and a format that awards points in the World Amateur Golf Rankings to more players, according to Joe Eggers, a member of Oceanside who is on the tournament committee.
Previously, the tournament was held on the second week of January but has moved up to the first week, which does not conflict with school and college schedules. Chuck Grant, tournament chairman, said the schedule is locked in for the next 10 years.
Also, the LPGA is supportive of the tournament and the winner gets to play in a Symetra Tour event.
The Sally, which started in 1926, brings national and international attention to Ormond Beach. It’s the longest-running amateur women’s golf event in the United States, Grant said.
Current LPGA superstars like Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Jessica and Nelly Korda and Ariya Jutanugarn have all come through The Sally.
In all, fully half of the field will be elite amateurs and players from top-ranked college programs including Wake Forest, Kent State, Florida, Arizona and Alabama. Countries represented include Guatemala, Italy, Taiwan, Mexico, England, Spain and more. There are more than 100 entrants.
This year’s player list includes Wake Forest’s Emilia Migliaccio, winner of two gold medals at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Peru. She won the individual gold medal with four rounds under par and another as part of the U.S. mixed team.
Defending Sally champion Amanda Doherty, a senior at Florida State, will also return. After winning the 2019 Sally by three strokes, she competed in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur where she finished 21st.
The junior ranks, under 18, include No. 2 ranked junior Alexa Pano, returning to The Sally after finishing second last year, and California’s Amari Avery, No. 20 ranked junior. The two 15-year-olds were partners in the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball competition, losing in the semifinals to the eventual champions from Duke University.
RAISING THE BAR
Grant said that each year, the club tries to raise the bar and create a better experience for the golfers. Meals and snacks are provided and a goodie bag includes items from sponsors such as Callaway Golf and Body Armour.
This year’s tournament comes just as the club is completing a renovation. There’s a new irrigation system and bathrooms out on the course, and the restaurant, pro shop and locker rooms have been remodeled. There is work to do on landscaping and upstairs dining, which should be complete by spring.
Many members of the country club volunteer to help at the tournament, such as allowing players to stay at their homes. Grant said the members love having a connection with the golfers and often keep in touch with them.
“It’s part of the fabric of Oceanside Country Club,” he said.
Find The Sally on Facebook or visit occ1907.com.
“It’s part of the fabric of Oceanside Country Club.”
Chuck Grant, Sally Tournament chairman