THE FIRST U.S. SR. WOMEN’S OPEN at the Chicago Golf Club is underway and you can be a part of it, tickets available at Come see history.      ______________________________________________________________________

NEWS*** stay clicked in for more coverage from the U.S. Sr. Women’s Open at the Chicago Golf Club, and the SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP AT EXMOOR Country Club in Highland Park, Where Illinois Golf Coach Mike Small is the co-leader with Kenny Perry at 7 under par. While down at the John Deere Classic former U of I player Nick Hardy is T-10 after a 6 under par 65 in round one.

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation, follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Facebook, Linkedin and now Instagram, with Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez.

THE U.S. SENIOR WOMEN’S OPEN is no longer being just talked about, it’s happening. A new chapter in golf history, women’s golf history, and in United States Golf Associations history is being written, with the first chapter now complete.

It all started early this morning near the flag pole at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton. People gathered to see USGA Executive Director Mike Davis raise the flag, USGA President Mark Newell make the opening remarks, and Grammy Award winner Heather Headley sing our national anthem.

Then just about seven am the first groups were called to the first and tenth tee boxes, and “Big Momma” 79 year old JoAnne Carner hit the first tee shot straight down the fairway, the first U.S. Senior Women’s Open was underway.

JoAnne Carner hits the first drive down the fairway to begin the U.S. Sr Women’s Open

What followed was a small group headed down the fairway with the players, why, because you could. Credit the USGA for making an outstanding decision on relaxing the ropes around the golf course and letting the fans walk the fairways of the famed Chicago Golf Club.

A great perk to take advantage of, and the people who did enjoyed the walk with the first group down the first fairway together.

If you want to get up close and personal to the players, without paying outrageous prices for seats. Try golf, especially USGA championships where you can, especially the amateur championships. It is fun. Not so much fun was the pin on the tenth hole, where you could not miss it above the hole. That first putt back downhill could end up in the front bunker, as it did for Amy Alcott, who then lipped out the bunker shot and almost made par. Alcott had to feel right there on her first hole that she was at a USGA Championship.

A LAST MINUTE WD was posted by Amy Ellertson from Virginia, she was replaced by Maureen Sheehan of Crystal Lake, who was the first alternate from the qualifier held at Conway Farms in Lake Forest.

The leader board looks like this, Elaine Crosby from Jackson Michigan shot the low round of the day, a three under par 70. No players shot in the 60’s. Crosby also qualified at Conway Farms.

Right behind Crosby one shot back is Trish Johnson the only player in the field to win a senior major, when she won the Senior LPGA Championship last July at the French Lick Resort on the Pete Dye Course.  Johnson is at 2 under par along with Laura Davies who got into red numbers with an eagle on the 18th hole and Liselotte Neumann carded a 71. Helen Afredsson is in 5th place at 1 under par. Pre-tournament favorite of many Juli Inkster heads up a group of four players tied at even par and in sixth place.

Click here to hear interviews with leader Elaine Crosby, Trish Johnson, Juli Inkster and Laura Davies in that order.

Coming up later today, our Golfers on Golf exclusive interview with USGA CEO and Executive Director Mike Davis, and on Saturday our interview with Hall of Fame inductee Nancy Lopez.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.