The world’s best women golfers are teeing off Thursday in the 2013 U.S Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton through Sunday, with Levittown teenager Annie Park the must-watch hometown favorite.
Many golfers are fans unfamiliar with the relatively new course—Sebonack opened less than a decade ago, in 2005—and will witness the unveiling of the club’s 18-hole maze through the weekend.
“I could not have imagined a better first semester to my college career,” Park said after qualifying for the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open, where she is making her second appearance among the world’s best women golfers.
The U.S Women’s Open can be watched for over 15 hours in over 50 countries on television programs such as ESPN and NBC Sports.
Park, a MacArthur High School graduate and freshman at the University of Southern California, is contending for the title against previous U.S. Open winners such as Na Yeon Choi (2012) and So Yeon Ryu (2011). After missing the cut in last year’s qualifying round, Park gained entrance into Sebonack the second time around.
While competing in the Nassau County High School Championship at Bethpage State Park’s blue and red courses, Park crushed the competition, which included more than 130 boys. She led the USC Trojans to the NCAA championship and won the Honda Award as the Nation’s top female college golfer during that time. She will tee off against 155 other for the first-round in front of a crowd that is expected to reach as many of 130,000 during the week-long event.
If the event turns out to be as successful as most are projecting it to be, Bethpage may lose some significance and Sebonack could be a boon to the Suffolk County economy. The U.S. Women’s Open projects an economic impact of more than $20 million to the greater LI community, event officials predict.
Hosting several other events such as the Men’s U.S Open could put Sebonack on the map. Golf Digest ranked Bethpage’s golf course No. 6 of America’s 50 toughest courses in 2008, so golfers of all different levels may want to swing away at Sebonack instead.
Traffic on the South Fork is expected be more congested than usual through Sunday as road closures hit Shrubland Road/Sebonac Road between 6 a.m. and at 8 p.m. daily. A parking field off South Magee Street and County Road 39 has been accommodated for visitor parking. From there, spectators will be shuttled to the event by The Hampton Jitney.