A local tie to Women’s U.S. Open Golf Championship

Marissa Steen qualifies for the Women’s Open at Pennsylvania's Lancaster Country Club

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Last year, I got the chance to meet Marissa Steen, a young woman who played in the LPGA. Marissa worked with local lady golfer Kenna Jenkinson at Turtle Creek Golf Course. I introduced myself, struck up a short conversation with her, and got her phone number so I could interview her. She was nice and very cooperative and said she would like that. 

I heard just a couple of days ago that Marissa had qualified for the Women’s Open this year at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, so I shot her a text. She got right back and said she would like to do the interview. I did it Monday Morning in the My County Link offices by phone, and it was a real pleasure to talk with such a happy and cooperative young woman.

Marissa is from West Chester, Ohio, went to Lakota West High School, played golf, and the lady’s team she was on was State Champion her junior year in 2006. Six or seven girls on the team made it to Division 1 golf in college! She got into golf because her family, especially her dad played and works at G.E., and they had a par 3 course there. Her dad asked her to go with him one day when she was in the eighth grade, so she and her sister went with him and fell in love with the game. 

After High School, she went to the University of Memphis, played golf, and was good enough to showcase her talent. She then joined the Symetra tour, now known as the Epson tour, in 2012. In 2014 she was Player of the Year! (the Epson tour is the ladies’ version of the men’s Korn Ferry tour, a gateway to the LPGA and PGA tours for future stars.) She has been on the LPGA tour since 2017, and in 2023 she played in 17 events, made six cuts, and earned $144,998.

She played on the Epson tour earlier this year to prepare for her U.S. Open qualifier in Pittsburgh at the Shannopin Country Club. The qualifier consists of 36 holes in one day, and that is a long day of pressure when you are trying to make the Open. Two places were available, and Marissa thought 6 or 7 girls had the chance to make it. After 36 long holes and a very long day, she made it, and now she is in the “big show” in two weeks!

I asked her what was her greatest strength? She thought about it and said her ball striking, grit, and determination. She still communicates with Kenna Jenkinson and saw her the weekend of the Masters. (Kenna is now at Northern Kentucky University, which is closer to home.)

The Women’s Open is in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this year at the Lancaster Country Club, where the Open was held in 2015. She said she did not know a lot about the course, but because of its location, she assumes it will be hilly, old school, and thick rough. She will watch some YouTube videos of the 2015 Open to familiarize herself with the course.

I asked her about Nelly Korda, who has won 5 tour events in a row, and she said she is very happy for her and what she represents for the LPGA and will help it grow. The LPGA tour is in a very good place right now, with more young stars than ever, which will grow women’s golf.

Marissa will not be back in the area until July, but really enjoys Darke County. Her boyfriend is Justin Spencer, Toby’s son. (I won’t hold that against him or her! ….. I owed you that, Toby!)

Marissa is a very pleasant and enthusiastic person who enjoys golf and competitions. She has the ability to play good golf, and the grit to hang on in tough situations. This year, watch the U.S. Women’s Open, and root for Marissa. She is easy to like and root for, and she now has that tie to Darke County.  I really enjoyed the interview, and wish her all the best and will keep in touch with her …… wouldn’t that be something if she has a chance to win on the final day?  That would be special for her and all her fans here!  That’s the way I see it ….. from the sidelines.