Stacy recalls pressure to ‘3-peat’ at 1979 U.S. Women’s Open at Brooklawn CC

FAIRFIELD — The memories are still there 42 years later for Hollis Stacy, who was going for the “three-peat” before the term was even known.

Stacy came to Brooklawn Country Club in 1979 attempting to win her third consecutive U.S. Women’s Open championship. She fell short in her quest, tying for 15th place.

“Oh yes, absolutely (she felt pressure). You don’t go through your normal routine,” Stacy said. “To have that added pressure takes you out of your element, your pre-shot routine.”

Stacy was back at Brooklawn CC this week for the third U.S. Senior Women’s Open. She finished in 41st place at 14-over-par 302.

But it wasn’t about her score on Sunday. It was about being back competing after having right shoulder replacement surgery 17 months ago.

“I’m the only professional in the world with a total shoulder replacement still playing, an entirely new one,” Stacy said. “I’ve worked really hard to get to a place where I could play. I’m still not quite 100 percent, but close to it. I’d like to get a little more clubhead speed, but I’m 67 years old. I realize I won’t hit it as far. I’m very happy with just being here.”

Stacy, who stuck around long after her round to watch the other groups come in on 18, including winner Annika Sorenstam, does recall how tough the greens were at Brooklawn CC back in 1979 when she was hitting 2-irons and a wooden driver and carried two wedges.

“They were really tough, really challenging,” Stacy said. “It’s a great golf course, a true Tillinghast (course). The key club is the driver. You have to keep it in play.”

Back for 2022

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Dana Ebster didn’t even have a spot in this year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Now, she doesn’t have to worry about qualifying for next year.

Ebster’s tie for 10th place this week automatically makes her exempt for the 2022 championship.

“Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. Walking down that last hole and my marker turned to me and said, ‘Are you enjoying this?’ And I go, ‘Yes, I’m so bummed that it’s going to end,’” Ebster said.

Ebster was a relative unknown until she posted a 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead with Sorenstam. She works at Turlock Golf and Country Club in Turlock, California, and is an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s golf teams at Modesto Junior College.

“It was so nice for my mom to be here and my family, my daughter, my son, my husband, and my friends, all my friends coming out. I’m so excited,” Ebster said

Nice title defense

Helen Alfredsson shot three consecutive 72s to conclude her defense of the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship. Alfredsson finished in a tie for seventh place at 2-over 290.

“The course is beautiful. I always love to play on this side in Connecticut or New York or when we have tournaments here. It’s awesome, and we were lucky with the weather,” Alfredsson said.

Alfredsson finished 14 strokes behind Sorenstam.

“The way she played, just this course fits her. You know, she is not a super long hitter and she’s straight. You know, I mean, that’s what you see with the players,” Alfredsson said about Sorenstam.

Playing with a marker

Kristi Albers was off in the first group Sunday morning at 8:10. She had the choice of whether to play with a marker or by herself. Alberts chose to play with someone.

Wendy Modic, a teaching pro at Fenway GC in Scarsdale, New York, joined Albers. The duo played in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Albers finished last at 20-over.; @nhrJoe Morelli