sport

USGA outlines women's qualifying

The United States Golf Association has announced the introduction of international qualifying for the US Women's Open starting later this year.

Qualifying will be held on May 19 at four venues, with an as yet undecided number of places up for grabs for the US Women's Open from June 19-22 at Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Reflecting the current balance of power in the women's game, three of the qualifying events will be held in Asia - Nanshan International Training Centre in China, Higashi Nagoya Country Club in Japan and Woo Jeong Hills Country Club in Korea - while Buckinghamshire Golf Club in England will host European qualifying.

Korean players have won five of the last six US Opens.

"The USGA has long been committed to presenting the US Women's Open as the premier event in international women's golf," USGA president Thomas J O'Toole Jr said.

"With the addition of international qualifying, we are happy to expand the championship field to include more of the very best players from across the globe."

International qualifying for the men's US Open was introduced in 2005 and Michael Campbell took full advantage, the New Zealander securing his place with a birdie on the last hole at Walton Heath and going on to win his first major title at Pinehurst.

Pinehurst will host the men's and women's US Open in back-to-back weeks this year.