WSWGA Crowns New Champion

The 96th Washington State Women’s Golf Association (WSWGA) State Championship was held at Sahalee Country Club in late July. The full field had entries from 30 clubs in the association. The event rotates among the state’s private clubs, and returned to Sahalee for the first time in 30 years.

Olivia Benzin won her fourth consecutive WSWGA State Championship.

Olivia Benzin of Tacoma won her fourth consecutive title in the championship. Benzin will be a senior on the Oregon State University women’s golf team, and earlier this summer she won the Washington State Women’s Amateur. Jamie Huo of Kent, a recent graduate of the Seattle University women’s golf team, finished second.

The WSWGA is an association of 33 private clubs in the state. It was founded in 1922 and is the oldest women’s golf association in the state.

Some of the greatest women players in the state’s history have been associated with the WSWGA, including Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Famers Ann Swanson (nine-time champion), Hilda Beck, Anne Sander, JoAnne Carner, Pat Lesser Harbottle, Edean Ihlanfeldt, Betty Jean Hulteng, Connie Guthrie, and so many more.

In 2012, Swanson published a book about the history of the Association, Celebrating 90 Years of Championship Golf – the Grand Tradition. For information about the book, contact Swanson at [email protected].

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Past WSWGA champion attending the banquet at Sahalee this year were (left to right) Shawn Farmer-Sese (2004), Leslie Folsom (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013), Jane Harris (2002, 2010), Ann Swanson (1973, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996), Pat Lesser Harbottle (1952, 1974), Denise Kieffer (2006), Edean Ihlanfeldt (1962, 1963, 1975), Olivia Benzin (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Sue Ursino (2006 senior champion), Sharon Johnston (1998), Mimi Racicot (1984, 1986, 1991) and Jani Lapar (2001). On the far left is Mike Montgomery, Sahalee’s PGA head professional.