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was a man’s province—and remains so nearly 100 years later—but Hollins worked with MacKenzie and devel- oped Cypress Point and Pasatiempo. Nice work there, wouldn’t you say? Also consider the long-lasting

impact of Helen Lengfeld, who founded the California Women’s Am- ateur Championship and sponsored several tournaments that ultimately led to the LPGA. Lengfeld was extraordi- narily supportive of young girls playing golf; Cockerill recently discovered keepsakes from the 1982 California Junior Girls championship, which Lengfeld ran at Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Many other women with North-

ern California ties deserve mention, including Dr. Patricia Cornett, a Curtis Cup standout and captain; Sally (Voss) Krueger, who won the San Francisco City Championship a record 10 times; Mina Harigae, Lynne Cowan and Shelley Hamlin, all of whom won the state amateur

From Juli Inkster to Paula Creamer, the rich lineage of women’s golf in Northern California runs deep.

four times; and, more recently, Karen Garcia, winner of last year’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. The procession began, in many

ways, with Sheehan. She grew up as a skier, splitting time between Vermont and Lake Tahoe, but she played much of her junior golf in Northern Cali- fornia and later lived in Los Gatos. Her junior days were a springboard toward a Hall-of-Fame career in which Sheehan won two California state amateur titles and 35 LPGA events, including six majors. Sheehan “competed with a light-

hearted intensity,” as Cockerill put it—perpetually smiling, engaging with spectators, unfurling a picturesque swing. Sheehan also played her senior year of college golf at San Jose State, where one of her teammates was Ink- ster (then named Juli Simpson). Inkster was an impressionable freshman who found inspiration in watching Sheehan launch her career. “Patty was motivating—

she turned pro and had a lot of success,” Inkster said.

“I picked her brain a lot. I asked a lot of questions before I turned pro.” The lineage led to Cockerill, Hurst (a six-time LPGA winner who grew up in San Leandro) and Dor- mann, among others. Sheehan passed the baton to Inkster, whose wild success as a pro inspired the wave of golfers coming up behind her. “When I saw what Juli had done,

her picture and accomplishments all over the newspapers—that made a big impact,” Cockerill said. Inkster’s impact stretched into

the early 2000s, when a promising, pink-clad player burst onto the scene. Creamer, who had moved to Florida at age 14 to attend a golf academy, shared Northern California roots with Inkster—and their brief introduction at Pasatiempo when Paula was 11 or 12—but it still took time for the kid and the Hall of Famer to bond. Creamer admired Inkster for both

the way she played, intensely but gracefully, and the way she balanced her career and family, raising two daughters. Inkster really offered a template for the life Creamer wanted to lead.

Their paths crossed a few times

before Creamer joined the LPGA tour, when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open. But that doesn’t mean they sat down for extended conversations. “It took me a long time to go and

talk to her,” Creamer said. “I was al- ways in such awe and envy. I’d see her and walk the other way. If she was in the locker room, I’d make eye contact and beeline in the other direction.” They became closer during

San Leandro’s Pat Hurst has won six LPGA titles, including one major.

Creamer’s rookie season on tour (2005), eventually formed a dynamic Solheim Cup tandem and now are good friends. Inkster and Creamer also help define the rich saga of women’s golf in Northern Califor- nia—with fresh chapters awaiting in July at CordeValle and in 2021, when the Women’s Open comes to The Olympic Club.

RON KROICHICK covers golf for the San Francisco Chronicle. SPRING 2016 / NCGA.ORG / 43


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