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WomanOf the Month 3-05: Hollis Stacy

She opens the velveteen cases and reveals the 8-ounce gold medals won through that special blend of perseverance, skill, and mental toughness. Hollis Stacy, three-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open and one of only two women to win the USGA Junior Girls Championship three consecutive years, is displaying the medals to an appreciative audience, in this case the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, for the first time. “I had to hunt around to find them,” she admits, laughing, “and I’m taking them right to the safety deposit box on my way home.”

Stacy now makes her home in Denver , but she credits her family and her years growing up just two hours from Augusta National Gold Club in Georgia for her love for golf and for her success. “Where I was raised and my family truly influenced who I am,apostrophe she says. She was born in Savannah , a middle child among a passel of 10. Her father was an all conference running back on the famous 1940 Clemson University team and fought under General Patton at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Her mother’s father was a captain in the military whose responsibility it was to guard the East Coast of the U.S.

“I fell in love with the game of golf at age 10,apostrophe she recalls. “No girls played golf, but I lived not far from Augusta National so I went to the Masters in 1966 and ran around like a little autograph rat. I got Ben Hogan’s autograph and others. I still have the tickets today.apostrophe

Her opinion of Augusta has changed due to the controversy over women members. “Today I think, why would women want to join a place like that?apostrophe she asks. “That’s just my opinion.apostrophe

She spent one year at Rollins College but the lure of professional golf was too enticing for her to complete her college degree.

Looking back, she notes the “incredible wins and the heartbreaking losses. I’ve traveled all over the world, been to the White House, been to Japan probably 30 or 40 times. It’s been fascinating.apostrophe

Stacy treasures the friendships and relationships she established through her years of golf competition. She laughs when she recalls having dinner with one former competitor and telling her, “You never had a chance. I am the middle child among 10 children and I had so much psychological warfare—I wasn’t going to lose.apostrophe

Casting an eye back at her Open championships, she recalls her victory at Hazelton as the hardest she ever played. Her main competition was Nancy Lopez, whose plants ripped on the last round. Lopez always tells Stacy that she lost because her pants ripped. Stacy replies with her characteristic mirth, “too bad!apostrophe.

Her triumph at Indianapolis in 1978 was particularly stressful. “It’s ironic,apostrophe she notes. “You work so hard for this and want it so badly, and then you can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t breathe, and have no saliva in your mouth!apostrophe On the 72 nd hole she was 1 stroke ahead and was so nervous her hands were in a cold sweat. “I just kept hearing my father’s voice saying, ‘Pull down, pull down.’ So I did and I hit about four inches behind the ball, but I made par and won.apostrophe

In Salem , Massachusetts , the site of her last Open championship, she says the witch of Salem must have been following her competitors for four days.

“The Open is the championship that all players want to win the most,apostrophe she says.

Stacy designed Blackhawk Golf Course in Austin , Texas , and among other honors, was recognized during the LPGA###s 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the association’s top 50 players and teachers.

This year the $3.1 million purse event is being held in Stacy’s home base of Denver at Cherry Hills Golf Club on June 23, 24, 25, and 26. She’s very excited about the event and notes it will be televised in 75 countries. “Annika Sorenstam will be there, and I’m wondering if she won’t retire after this year. She’s in the Hall of Fame and has already beaten everyone by a lot. So it will be interesting to see what happens with her.apostrophe

For more info on the Open, go to .