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NCAA Champions Receive USGA Exemptions for U.S. Amateur

NORMAN, Okla. ? The individual winners of the men?s and women?s NCAA Division I Golf Championships will earn an exemption into the next U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women?s Amateur championships, respectively, the United States Golf Association has announced.  The exemptions will begin with the 2004 championship season.           

"The GCAA is very excited that the USGA has decided to provide these exemptions to college golf's Division I national champion," said GCAA Executive Director Gregg Grost.  "The continuing efforts of the GCAA liaison committee to the USGA and its chair, Rod Myers of Duke University, were instrumental in this decision."


The NCAA men?s championship is scheduled from June 1-4 at the Cascades Golf Course at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.  The NCAA women?s championship is set for May 18-21 at the Grand National Lake Course at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.


The U.S. Amateur Championship, with a starting field of 312, will be played from Aug. 16-22 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.  The U.S. Women?s Amateur, with a starting field of 156, will be played from Aug. 9-15 at The Kahkwa Club in Erie, Pa.   Both championships start with 36 holes of stroke play before the top 64 scorers advance to match play.


Nine Amateur winners also have been NCAA champions, starting with Harvard?s Chandler Egan, who won the 1902 NCAA title and the 1904 and 1905 Amateur.  The most recent double winner was Tiger Woods of Stanford, who won the 1996 NCAA and three consecutive Amateurs from 1994-96.


Woods is also one of six NCAA titleists to win a U.S. Open.  The other five are Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Jack Nicklaus, Scott Simpson and Curtis Strange.


In a much shorter 22-year history, four women have won both the NCAA and the Women?s Amateur titles, including 2003 Women?s Amateur champion Virada Nirapathpongporn, who won the 2002 NCAA title playing for Duke.  College golf for women was organized by other administrative bodies prior to 1982.


Annika Sorenstam, who won the NCAA title while at Arizona in 1991, is one of two NCAA individual champions who went on to win a U.S. Women?s Open.  She won the Women?s Open in 1995 and 1996.  The other was Kathy Baker, who won the 1982 NCAA and the 1985 Women?s Open.



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