With the close of a successful week at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club, the focus has enthusiastically shifted to the 2019 championship on May 16–19 at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

The defending champion, Laura Davies, acknowledges the importance and future of this championship, saying, “It’s great for the girls on the Tour and all the amateurs around the country — well, around the world. We’ve had a few come from overseas qualifying. People are really interested in this, and it’s a great chance to play championship golf again for the over-50s.”

Coming off a monumental week, more of the game’s greats shared their enthusiasm for competing in the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open:
• JoAnne “Big Mama” Carner, who impressively shot her age, 79, on her first round of play this week, confirmed her intent to return next year at age 80 with a signature bold statement, “I’ll be ready.”
• Hollis Stacy, three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, is nothing but supportive stating, “Peggy Kirk Bell and Bullet were good friends of mine, so I support Pine Needles 100%, 1000%, and I know it’s going to be a great championship.”
• LPGA Hall of Famer, Amy Alcott, claims “I’m going to play forever. As long as I can walk, I’ll be in this tournament.”
• Kay Cockerill, Golf Channel commentator and former LPGA player, summed up her emotions toward competing in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open as, “for me to now play in another USGA event its just – it’s just incredible.”

The U.S. Senior Women’s Open celebrates the legendary athletes who spent decades fighting for their place in the world of sports while inspiring future generations of female golfers. It’s a greater stage and prize than any other senior women’s golf event. The inaugural event this past week was a spectacular success. The USGA’s ticket-sales goals were surpassed by large margins and the event’s sizable following was evident all over the internet and social media.

The reception has been phenomenal from the Pine Needles and North Carolina golf community as they embrace the significance of this championship. The torch is now passed to Pine Needles as the U.S. Senior Women’s Open continues to leave its mark on history.

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Finding Theo’s Taverna is like crossing a threshold from downtown Pinehurst to the sunny Mediterranean: Just off Chinquapin Road, a short walkway passes behind a row of red-brick shops and opens onto a courtyard full of classical statuary, lush greenery, and tables beneath a pergola. Servers circulate between the patio and the restaurant — accented with deep, rich woodwork and high, vaulted ceilings — delivering plates of hummus and stuffed grape leaves, olives and feta, lamb shank and seafood pasta. Many dishes are prepared with the restaurant’s own extra-virgin olive oil, a family recipe passed down to owner Elias “Louis” Dalitsouris from his father and grandfather. Now, he and his wife, Helen, split their time between North Carolina and the Dalitsouris estate in Sparta, Greece, where the fruit of their 4,000 olive trees is pressed and bottled, then sold back at the restaurant in Pinehurst — continuing a generations-old tradition.

Part of a Photo Essay in May 2018 issue of Our State
Written By Katie Saintsing • Photography By Emily Chaplin & Chris Council