Inspiration: The Wright Way

San Diego, CA — On just another sublime day at the close of summer, the membership and staff at San Diego Country Club (SDCC) hosted 24 of the county’s finest High School female golfers to participate in the 2nd Annual Mickey Wright Invitational for High School Girls. Stephanie Heimler, a sophomore at Rancho Bernardo High School, tamed the diabolical greens at the historic course and bested the field with an impressive 1-under-par score of 71. The tournament recognizes local talent while honoring one of San Diego’s most accomplished athletes, Mickey Wright.

Wright may be the greatest player whose name almost never comes up when talking about the legends of the game. She grew up in San Diego, an area that produces its share of hall of fame talent. Billy Casper, Phil Mickelson, Gene Littler, Craig Stadler and Scott Simpson all hail from San Diego. Together they combine for 11 major championships. Mickey Wright won 13. Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have won more. By the end of her career she collected 82 professional victories, surpassed only by Kathy Whitworth, Wright’s contemporary, who amassed a total 88 professional titles.

Perhaps Wright’s greatest victory came at the 1964 US Women’s Open on her home course, SDCC. On the 72nd hole, Wright scrambled to save par from the greenside bunker while fellow San Diego county resident Ruth Jensen made birdie to force an 18-hole playoff. Wright went on to defeat Jensen by two strokes, carding a 2-under-par 70 to Jensen’s 72. That was Wright’s fourth and final US Open victory.

The US Women’s Amateur will be played at SDCC in 2017. “It is a tremendous honor to host such a prestigious event at our club,” said John Julius, President of SDCC and tournament chairman for the Amateur. “We have a rich history of great champions at this club with both Mickey Wright and Billy Casper. Maybe one of these girls who played here today will follow in their footsteps.”

Mickey Wright is thinking along the same lines.

“Perhaps this week will be a practice round for some of you for the 2017 US Women’s Amateur,” penned Wright in a written note to the participants at this year’s event. “For others just a very special day to add to your memory book. I just hope all of you keep golf as a part of your lives. It truly is a joy forever.”

Stephanie Heimler (left) and Christina Park (last year's champion)  hoist the Mickey Wright Invitational for High School Girls Trophy
Stephanie Heimler (left) and Christina Park (last year’s champion) hoist the Mickey Wright Invitational for High School Girls Trophy
photo credit: Brian Wagner

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