Sue Nyhus makes history by qualifying for U.S. Senior Women's Open

USGA

Sue Nyhus makes history by qualifying for U.S. Senior Women's Open

Golf

Sue Nyhus makes history by qualifying for U.S. Senior Women's Open

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It wasn’t pretty. Rounds played in 30-degree temperatures rarely make the record books, but Sue Nyhus was on a mission. The 56-year-old Utah Valley coach became the first player in USGA history – male or female – to qualify for every championship offered to her when she earned a spot in the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

“It didn’t even dawn on me until just a couple of years ago,” said Nyhus, “and then all of a sudden it just became an obsession, when I realized it was within reach.”

Tony Finau was among those who congratulated Nyhus on making history at frigid Glenmoor Country Club in Englewood, Colo. Nyhus carded an 80 to earn one of two spots.

She has now qualified for eight different USGA championships: U.S. Girls’ Junior, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, Women’s State Team, U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

Nyhus’s USGA career began in 1980 when she qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior as a 17-year-old. When she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in ’83 as an awestruck college kid Nyhus, whose maiden name is Billek, crashed into JoAnne Carner when she rounded the corner of the locker room. The 80-year-old Carner will join Nyhus in the same USGA field 36 years later at Pine Needles.

A finalist at the now defunct 1999 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, Nyhus can still picture her husband sitting at the top of the hill watching her with a double-stroller that had three kids in it.

For a while, Nyhus’s main focus was to qualify for the Senior Women’s Amateur when she turned 50.

“Best birthday ever!” she said. “I was fortunate enough to qualify on my first try and the next thing you know they announce the Four-Ball and I’m like, are you kidding me?”

Nyhus qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball in 2015 to keep her record of every USGA championship intact. But then the Senior Women’s Open presented a new challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to rekindling some friendships that I thought were gone forever,” said Nyhus of a Pine Needles reunion.

After graduating from BYU, Nyhus played golf on what’s now the Ladies European Tour for several years before regaining her amateur status in the mid-90s after her second child was born. Earlier this year she turned professional again because she wants to get more involved with teaching people outside the college ranks to enjoy the game more.

Now in her ninth season at Utah Valley, the Wolverines finished three shots back at the WAC Championships, narrowly missing out on NCAA regional play.

Nyhus can count on one hand how many times she has played this spring. Now that the college season is over, she’ll have more time to get prepared for Pine Needles.

“I’m most looking forward to managing my human skills so that my golf game can shine through and having an amazing time,” said Nyhus.

“I would really love to pay off my mortgage, too.”

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