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After playing in her first U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in 2011, 2-time LPGA Tour winner Moriya Jutanugarn returns to Colorado to qualify for her 13th USWO; fellow LPGA players Isi Gabsa and Celine Borge also earn berths

By Gary Baines – 5/1/2024

Golfers who qualify in Colorado for the U.S. Women’s Open can point to a few real-life examples of how players have parlayed success in recent such qualifiers into some monumental career accomplishments. 

Colorado native Jennifer Kupcho — who qualified for the USWO in 2016 and ’17 in Colorado — has gone on to win three times on the LPGA Tour, including a major. Celine Boutier — a 2014 USWO qualifier in Colorado — has earned six LPGA titles, including one major. And Matilda Castren — who qualified in Colorado for the 2021 USWO — has claimed one victory on the LPGA Tour.

Three LPGA Tour players, all based in Orlando for much of the year — Isi Gabsa of Germany, Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand and Celine Borge of Norway — would love to find similar future results after qualifying for the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open on Tuesday/Wednesday at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster. They’ll join 153 other contestants who will tee it up in arguably the most prestigious women’s golf tournament in the world, May 30-June 2 at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

Isi Gabsa of Germany earned medalist honors by two at Walnut Creek.

Jutanugarn — who is no stranger to success, having already won twice on the LPGA Tour after being Rookie of the Year in 2013 — will be playing in her 13th U.S. Women’s Open, though she’s only 29 years old. Coincidentally, her first USWO appearance came in Colorado as she finished 32nd in the 2011 Women’s Open at The Broadmoor as a 16-year-old. To the best of her recollection, that’s the only time she’d competed in the Centennial State before this week.

“It’s almost like a part of my job,” Jutanugarn said when asked if it’s still a big deal for her to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. “You want to play in all the majors. I’ve been playing golf almost every week. It’s almost like, ‘Start over again, start over again.’ The U.S. Open is one of the biggest events and prizes and everyone wants to play, for sure. But trying to do qualifying is trying to do my best. If I get in, I get in. If not, it’s just kind of what it is.”

For the record, out of her previous USWO appearances, Jutanugarn’s best showing was a tie for sixth place in 2020. Younger sister Ariya Jutanugarn won the Women’s Open in 2018 — one of her dozen LPGA victories — and is exempt for this year’s championship.

The 36-hole qualifier at Walnut Creek was supposed to be completed in one day on Tuesday, but a two-hour suspension of play due to high winds forced quite a few groups to finish up on Wednesday, starting at 7 a.m., when temperatures hovered in the mid-40s. That included the eventual medalist, Gabsa, who played four holes in 1 under on Wednesday, making a two-putt birdie on No. 18. All told, because of the interruption of play and the event ending up being contested over two days, just half of the original 71-player field finished the full 36 holes.

Gabsa, who has competed in 60 LPGA Tour events in her career but is still looking for her first top-10 showing, went 69-71 for a 4-under-par total at Walnut Creek that was good for the top spot. It will be her second USWO, having finished 51st in 2022.

“The first time I qualified, I knew about the U.S. Open, but I didn’t know how cool the U.S. Open is,” the German said. “It’s an amazing tournament and it’s really cool.”

To get there, Gabsa had to overcome the extra hurdle of sleeping on the lead and having to return Wednesday to finish off her qualifier.

“My mind did start racing (on Tuesday night),” she admitted. “I knew where I was at, so sleeping wasn’t great. But I just kept it one shot at a time and putting was good, so that was great. I made a lot of great putts on the last three holes.”

And, for the record, Gabsa was playing in Colorado for the first time, but had little problem adjusting to the mile-high altitude, sticking with a 6 percent distance correction compared to sea level. Jutanugarn and Borge, meanwhile, hit the mark in the thin air enough of the time to advance, though between the wind and the altitude Jutanugarn said, “Every shot is like confusing.” 

Jutanugarn, who’s ranked No. 104 in the world among women with her LPGA Tour victories coming in 2018 and ’21, posted back-to-back 71s to place second on Wednesday. 

Borge played off against her roommate, Polly Mack of Germany — along with Reagan Zibilski of Springfield, Mo., a University of Arkansas sophomore — for the third and final USWO spot after they all finished regulation at even par. Borge drained a 20-foot downhill birdie putt on the first extra hole — No. 10 at Walnut Creek — to land a berth in the Women’s Open for the first time.

“It feels good. It will be fun,” Borge said. “The only sad part is that I was (playing off) against Polly, and she’s my friend. We got to know each other from the Epson Tour and we live together.”

After winning a playoff on Wednesday morning, Celine Borge of Norway is headed to her first U.S. Women’s Open.

Plus, Borge and Mack are often traveling partners with Gabsa, so they were all very interested in how one another was faring this week. 

Borge also made a nice mid-range birdie putt on her 35th-hole of regulation — a 22-footer — that helped get her into the playoff. Including the playoff, Borge played her final 11 holes at Walnut Creek in 5 under par.

Borge has competed in 33 LPGA events, with her best showing coming last year in an LPGA major championship, the Amundi Evian Championship.

Zibilski ended up securing the first-alternate position by parring the fourth hole of a playoff, defeating Mack, who three-putted there. Mack also three-putted her 27th hole of regulation — in that case posting her second double bogey of the qualifier, which proved crucial in costing her a USWO berth.

It was rather chilly when former CU golfer Jenny Coleman, a three-time U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, and other golfers resumed play on Wednesday morning.

Former University of Colorado golfer Jenny Coleman, an LPGA Tour regular who was seeking a spot in the USWO for a fourth time, finished two strokes out of the playoff after playing her final four holes in 3 over par. In April, Sabrina Iqbal, who’s wrapping up her first and only season as a CU golfer, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open for the second time. 

This spring proved to be one of the rare occasions in recent years that the Colorado-based U.S. Women’s Open qualifier drew a large enough field to yield three qualifying spots for the national championship. Walnut Creek is one of 23 qualifying sites for the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open during the period from April 15-May 20.

The wind wreaked some havoc on Tuesday at Walnut Creek.

The Colorado-based qualifier attracted not only quite a few LPGA Tour players but some of the best current and former amateurs Colorado — and Colorado schools — have produced. For instance, like Coleman, Robyn Choi is a former CU golfer and current LPGA card holder who has qualified for multiple U.S. Women’s Opens — in her case two. This week, Choi went 74-74 and missed the playoff for the final berth by four strokes.

Results from U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying 

April 30-May 1 at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster


Isi Gabsa, Germany 69-71–140

Moriya Jutanugarn, Thailand 71-71–142

Celine Borge, Norway 73-71–144


Amateur Reagan Zibilski, Springfield, Mo. 69-75–144

Polly Mack, Germany 72-72–144

For all the scores from Walnut Creek on Tuesday, CLICK HERE.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. The University of Colorado Evans Scholar alum was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates