Tennessee Women's Open celebrates 25 years, 15 at Stonehenge
CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Women’s Open is celebrating 25 years of competition this year and its 15th consecutive year at Stonehenge Golf Club. Golfers from around the country will descend on the Golf Capital of Tennessee to compete for the title.
Stonehenge has proven to be a formidable and challenging venue for the Tennessee Women’s Open, welcoming golfers every year since 2009. It tested the likes of LPGA pros to the best of Tennessee’s Amateurs. It will do the same in 2023.
Some of Tennessee’s very best golfers have tested their mettle at the Fairfield Glade course. Kendall Martindale was the first Tennessee woman to win the Women’s Open at Stonehenge Golf Club in 2011, narrowly defeating fellow Tennessean Brooke Pancake. Lauren Stratton became the second Tennessean the following year.
It wasn’t until 2019 that another Tennessean claimed top spot at the Tennessee Women’s Open when Morristown’s Ashli Bunch fired a steady 3-under-par 213 to finally win.
Her rise to the top was a slower one, filled with close call after close call as she chased down her first victory. Bunch’s first Tennessee Women’s Open came in 2009 and in the ten tournaments she competed in between 2009 and 2021, she finished top three in six of them (including her victory in 2019).
Bunch is an LPGA professional, turning pro in 1997 and earning her tour card in 1999 after competing on the Epson Tour. Her best finish on Tour came in 2004 where she finished T2 at the Office Depot Championship hosted by Amy Alcott.
Another former champion is amateur and future Ole Miss golfer Sophie Linder. Her 2021 win was historic, becoming the first woman to win both the Tennessee Girls’ Junior and Tennessee Women’s Open in the same year.
Linder’s recent play suggests she could be a force at the top of the leaderboard once again. The Cartage native will just be a few weeks removed from competing in the 2023 US Women’s Open at Pebble Beach. She also has already claimed her first TGA title of the year, taking home the 3rd Annual Women’s Match Play trophy last month at Belle Meade Country Club. In 2022, Linder finished tied as the Low Amateur with Catherine Caudill.
Whoever takes home the trophy will have to first navigate the tricky 15th hole at Stonehenge Golf Club. The 501-yard par 5 is a daunting tee shot over Lick Creek before approaching the elevated green. Before that, however, you must fit your second shot on a narrow fairway and penalty areas to the right and in front of the green.
In addition to being elevated from the fairway, the putting surface provides an additional challenge in its two-tiered layout.
The 15th can catapult players to the front of the pack, but it also can drag them down the leaderboard. At the 24th Tennessee Women’s Open, hole 15 fought back against the field. It only allowed 18 birdies over the course of three days. It was the third toughest hole on the course and toughest par 5 in 2022, where the field’s scoring average was 5.58. A birdie here can give you a much needed advantage against the field.
More players to watch
There’s a lot of stout competition coming to Crossville on July 20, on both the amateur and professional sides. These are just a few of the 92-player field set to compete at Stonehenge Golf Club later this week.
Kynadie Adams - The 2019 Tennessee Girls’ Junior Player of the Year will be battling for the first place spot this year after shooting one behind the lead in the 2020 Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open. Adams plays for the Alabama Women’s Golf Team, who finished in the top 5 at Illini Women’s Invitational in 2022.
Robin Banner - Banner returns to Crossville to defend her 2022 Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open senior division championship. Continuing with an impressive season that same year, Banner also placed 2nd in the Tennessee Women's Senior Amateur Championship and Tennessee Women's Four-Ball Championship in 2022.
Karlie Campbell - The Ethridge native is having quite a 2023 season. Campbell became the first golfer since 1999 to win the Tennessee Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship and Tennessee PGA Junior Championship in the same year. Campbell has also won an Elite Series Sneds Tour event earlier this year as well as an additional Top 5 finish in another. She’s also one of the top high school golfers in the country, earning sixth in the most recent National High School Golf Association rankings.
Caroline Caudill - A recent graduate of MTSU, Caudill was named the 2022 Women’s Player of the Year. In 2021, Caudill finished in the top 10 in both the USA Intercollegiate along with the Ozarks National Invitational. She finished Top 5 at the Tennessee Women’s Amateur earlier this year.
Chelsea Dantonio - After turning pro just two years ago, the East Aurora native is working towards earning her LPGA Tour Card. Earlier this year, Dantonio finished top 10 amongst the pros at the Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Resort. Before turning pro, Dantonio played golf for four years at Winthrop University where she was a three-time All-American Scholar.
Lauren Grogan - The head men’s and women’s golf coach at Denison University returns for her fourth Tennessee Women’s Open. Her best finish came at last year’s Open, tying for 35th. While at Denison, Grogan has a laundry list of accomplishments. Between the men’s and women’s sides, the Columbus, Ohio native is a four-time North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the year and has led the teams to four NCAC Championships and three NCAA Division III appearances.
Teleri Hughes - Hughes has made a name for herself in both the golf community and business world. She owns a golf apparel business named “Teleri Athletics.” The former University of Tennessee women’s golfer was the 2017 Tennessee Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, and was also the runner-up in 2021.
Phu Khine - Playing in one of her first events as a professional, Khine is looking to ride the highs of her collegiate career. In her time at UNC-Wilmington, the Thingangyun, Yangon, Myanmar native was a two-time PGA WORKS Individual Champion, winning the event in 2023 and 2021. She recorded a Top 5 finish at the GolfWeek Myrtle Beach Amateur and was named the Colonial Athletic Association Freshman of the Year.
Lynn Lim - Now a two-time Tennessee Women’s Amateur champion after successfully defending her title at Clarksville Country Club this year, Lim is looking to be a Tennessee Women’s Open Champion as well. When everything is said and done in Crossville, the Gallatin native will prepare for the US Women’s Amateur Championship at Bel-Air Country Club after qualifying earlier this month. Lim was also named the 2022 Tennessee Girls’ Junior Player of the Year and went on to earn SEC Freshman of the Year while playing for the women's golf team at Vanderbilt University this past season.
Alyssa Montgomery - Playing in her 6th Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open, Montgomery has earned 3 top 6 finishes throughout the years, and placed runner-up in 2021. The Virginia Tech women’s golfer also finished in first place in 2021 at the Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship. Montgomery also earned an impressive win at the 2019 NWGA Rocky Top Ladies Classic.
Lucía Polo - The former All-American golfer at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Polo returns to East Tennessee for her second Tennessee Women’s Open. In 2021, the Guatemala City native finished in a tie for sixth at Stonehenge Golf Club. While at UT-Knoxville, played in 39 tournaments for the Lady Volunteers and had eight Top 10 finishes. She was also named a 2015 Golfweek All-American and earned three Academic All-American awards. Earlier this year, Polo finished 26th at the Taco Bell Natchez Classic at Beau Pre Country Club.
Kathleen Sumner - A Rock Hill, South Carolina resident, Sumner is looking to make 2023 her year. Earlier in the year, she finished in a share for 13th at the Beaumont Emergency Hospital Open in Beaumont, Texas. Sumner also is coming off of three top 10 finishes on the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, including a fourth place finish at the Winter Series Championship at Rio Pinar.
Rhonda Switzer-Nadasdi - The 2022 Tennessee Women’s Senior Amateur champion, Switzer-Nadasdi will be fierce competition. That same year, she placed in the top ten of the Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open. Switzer-Nadasdi competed in this year’s Tennessee Women’s Match Play at Belle Meade Country Club, and is also known as a winner of the 2011 Women’s Four-Ball, along with her partner Karen Williams.
Dorota Zalewska - Making her professional debut, Zalevska is a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. While playing on the Mocs’ women’s golf team, the Szczecin, Poland native won four different tournaments. In her 2023 senior season, Zalewska won the 2023 NCAA Raleigh regional, punching her ticket to the 2023 NCAA Women’s National Championship. She also finished runner-up at the 2023 Tennessee Women’s Amateur at Clarksville Country Club.