Mary Ruth Jessen (November 12, 1936 – September 21, 2007) was an American professional golfer. She became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1956 and won 11 LPGA Tour victories in all.[1][2][3]

Ruth Jessen
Personal information
Full nameMary Ruth Jessen
Born(1936-11-12)November 12, 1936
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
DiedSeptember 21, 2007(2007-09-21) (aged 70)
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Height5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Sporting nationality United States
CollegeSeattle University
Turned professional1956
Former tour(s)LPGA Tour (1956–85)
Professional wins13
Number of wins by tour
LPGA Tour11
Best results in LPGA major championships
Western OpenT2: 1964
Titleholders C'ship2nd: 1962
Chevron ChampionshipDNP
Women's PGA C'ship5th: 1963
U.S. Women's OpenT2/2nd: 1962, 1964
du Maurier ClassicCUT: 1984

Amateur career edit

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington,[4] Jessen grew up in the northeast part of the city, a half block from the Meadowbrook golf course (1928–1960), now Nathan Hale High School and Meadowbrook Playfield.[5] She also played at Jackson Park and was a junior member at Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore.[6]

Jessen was a three-time winner of the Seattle City Championship from 1953 to 1955. She won the Washington State Amateur in 1954 and the Pacific Northwest Championship in 1954 and 1955. She was also the medalist at the 1953 National Junior Championship and runner-up at the 1956 National Collegiate Championship.

Jessen graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1955 and briefly played on the men's golf team at Seattle University in 1956 as a freshman.[7] Seattle U. did not have women's teams then, but encouraged its outstanding female athletes to play on its (men's) teams, primarily in golf and tennis.[8]

Professional career edit

Unconventional for the era, Jessen left college after one year to turn professional, and joined the LPGA Tour.[4] She won 11 times[9] on the LPGA Tour between 1959 and 1971.[10][11][12] She finished as runner-up in major championships four times. Two of these were 18-hole playoff losses: at the 1962 Titleholders Championship and the 1964 U.S. Women's Open, both to Mickey Wright.[13] Jessen was in the top-10 on the money list once, the runner-up in 1964 with $23,431,[14][15] after five tour victories that year.[16]

Jessen suffered from several health issues throughout her career, including uterine cancer at age 32, and had over a dozen surgeries for her various ailments. She won the 1971 Ben Hogan Award after returning from elbow surgery.[7][17][18] She was also known for her unusually wide putting stance.[4][18]

Death edit

Jessen died at age 70 of lung cancer in 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona.[2][18]

Professional wins (13) edit

LPGA Tour wins (11) edit

Other wins (2) edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Raley, Dan (August 8, 2006). "Where are they now? Ruth Jessen, former LPGA standout". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Raley, Dan (September 22, 2007). "Ruth Jessen, 1937-2007: Seattle's first LPGA golfer". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  3. ^ Smith, Craig (September 23, 2007). "Ruth Jessen, 1936-2007, LPGA Tour star started in Seattle". Seattle Times. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Elliott, Len; Kelly, Barbara (1976). Who's Who in Golf. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House. p. 104. ISBN 0-87000-225-2.
  5. ^ "Meadowbrook Playfield" (PDF). Seattle City Parks. History. 1976. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  6. ^ "History". Inglewood Country Club. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Ruth Jessen, 70; golfer won 11 times on the LPGA tour". Los Angeles Times. staff & wire reports. September 26, 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  8. ^ "33-day countdown to new Division I era - Story #13 - Ruth Jessen". Seattle University Athletics. 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  9. ^ LPGA All-Time Winners List Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ LPGA Tournament Chronology 1950-59
  11. ^ LPGA Tournament Chronology 1960-69
  12. ^ LPGA Tournament Chronology 1970-79
  13. ^ "Wright wins women's title". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. July 13, 1964. p. 2B.
  14. ^ "Ruth Jessen, veteran nomad of women's pro circuit". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. January 26, 1965. p. 14.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Ruth Jessen's shoe department". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. AP photo. January 26, 1965. p. 14.
  16. ^ "Ruth Jessen captures Phoenix golf tourney". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. October 26, 1964. p. 10.
  17. ^ "Ruth Jessen is honored". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. January 8, 1972. p. 10.
  18. ^ a b c "Passings of 2007". Golf Digest. January 22, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2016.

External links edit