History, the axiom dictates, is written by the winners. But sometimes even those that triumph on the greatest stages don’t get enough ink in the dusty pages of time.
One of those is Hollis Stacy, a six-time USGA champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Quite simply, over the last 50 years, Stacy has been one of the most accomplished players in the game, a legacy she continues to enhance at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
On Friday, Stacy shot 78 on the South Course at NCR Country Club to make the cut with 11-over-par 157, the fourth consecutive time in four tries she’s survived to the weekend at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
“Playing on the weekend is great,” Stacy said after her round. “It means another two days with my friends.”
When Stacy finishes her round one of the first questions she asks is how her sister, Martha Leach, did. Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, has twice been low amateur in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open – and Stacy is as proud of that as she is of her own accomplishments, maybe more so.
“My sister works so hard,” Stacy says of Leach, who missed the cut this year after being low amateur in 2018 and co-low amateur with Ellen Port last year. “She’s a mom, a wife, has a job and still she is so competitive.”
That’s the sort of selfless humility that has helped Stacy fly under the radar when the conversation turns to the greatest golfers of her generation. Yet, she is the only player to win the U.S. Girls’ Junior in three consecutive years, a feat she began in 1969. And with victories in the U.S. Women’s Open in 1977, ’78 and ’84, she trails only the four by Mickey Wright and Betsy Rawls for the most ever.
At 68, Stacy is still blessed with a swing that repeats with the rhythmic reliability of a rocking chair on a front porch in her hometown of Savannah, Ga. Watching her pass at the ball leaves the distinct feeling that she could be awakened at 4 a.m. and, with no practice swings, hit frozen ropes down the middle of the fairway.
“Our father and mother made us so competitive,” Stacy said. “Mom had 10 babies, dad was a war hero who landed with Patton in 1944; he was a running back at Clemson. We got hit with some really good genes.”
After attending Rollins College and representing the United States on the 1972 Curtis Cup team, Stacy turned professional, leading to a career in which she won 18 times on the LPGA Tour – top-30 on the all-time victories list. She turned pro in 1974, won her first LPGA event in 1977 and last in 1991. Still, it is those six USGA titles that define Stacy’s greatness.
On the all-time USGA victory list, she trails only Bob Jones and Tiger Woods with nine, JoAnne Carner and Jack Nicklaus with eight, Anne Quast Sander, Carol Semple Thompson and Ellen Port with seven.
“I just love the fact that I go to my locker and see seven symbols there,” Stacy says about the acknowledgments of her six USGA titles and Curtis Cup team membership. “The USGA gets it right. They have real championships. They have hard golf and we just love it. We wouldn’t play golf if it was easy.”
Stacy has always played her best under the most demanding of conditions, winning those three U.S. Girls’ Juniors at match play; winning the U.S. Women’s Open in back-to-back years on her way to winning three in all. And now she’s made the cut in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open all four times she’s played it. That’s the stuff of history.
Ron Sirak is a Massachusetts-based writer who frequently contributes to USGA websites and publications.