The U.S. Women's Open trophy has made many appearances in Charleston and throughout the state since it was announced in 2015 that the championship was coming to the Country Club of Charleston.
What a lot of residents don't know, or have forgotten, is that the trophy resided in South Carolina for the better part of two years in the mid-1980s when two golfers from the Palmetto State made the U.S. Women's Open their first LPGA Tour win.
Kathy Baker (Guadagnino), who grew up in River Hills Plantation in Lake Wylie, won the first of her two LPGA titles in the 1985 Women's Open at Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J.
The next year, at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio, Jane Geddes took the trophy home to her parents' house in Summerville after a playoff win over Sally Little. Starting with that victory, Geddes would go on to win seven tournaments over a 12-month span that included the 1987 LPGA Championship.
Guadagnino and her husband Joe are the founders of Solid Rock Christian Church in Boca Raton, Fla., and the parents of three children.
As a collegian, she won the 1982 AIAW (Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women) and NCAA individual golf titles, and her Tulsa team won the national championship.
"Two years prior to winning the tournament, I was playing a practice round for the U.S. Women's Open in Tulsa. I was playing with Barb Thomas (Whitehead) and in our conversation I blurted out, 'I am going to win the U.S. Open!'
"Barb was shocked and said, 'What was that, a faith statement?' I told her I wasn't sure what that was as I was not known to say things like that," Guadagnino recalled.
"Fast forward two years later and I am playing in the practice round for the 1985 U.S. Open and I saw a vision, if you will, of myself like I had just won the tournament. I heard what I said in my speech and thought, 'This is crazy, the tournament hasn’t even started yet and I am having visions of grandeur!'
"Then, on the night before the last round, I was in the lead by one stroke and I suddenly remembered what I had said two years prior. I was overcome with this sense of destiny and then prayed, 'Lord, please don’t let me mess this up.'”
Guadagnino said the trophy was displayed at River Hills in the pro shop "but not before we got a picture of it in our living room with my dad's hat on top. There was a story along with that. It was an awful, very worn, floppy hat that he insisted on wearing throughout the tournament. It became one of the side stories of the tournament."
Geddes lives in Florida with former tennis star Gigi Fernandez and their 10-year-old twins. Geddes retired from the game with 11 LPGA wins that included two majors, went back to school and got her law degree and now is in her second stint working with the LPGA where she is executive director of the LPGA Amateur Golf Association.
Geddes was a latecomer to the game. Her family moved to Summerville when she was in high school, about the time Beth Daniel of Charleston was winning back-to-back U.S. Women's Amateurs. Her mother took her to the Country Club of Charleston for a lesson from head pro Derek Hardy, who after seeing the raw talent made her promise to come back. Geddes went on to help Florida State win the 1981 AIAW national championship before turning pro.
"You want to think you're going into events thinking you're going to win. But a couple of weeks before that Open I was not hitting the ball well at all and I asked Derek Hardy to come to the Open. He would come out (on Tour) and see me now and then," Geddes said.
"I had been working on a couple of things. I remember him standing on the range with me that week, on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I was hitting balls. He didn't say a word, and then he said 'Jane, you're ready.'"
Geddes finished in a tie with Sally Little, necessitating an 18-hole playoff on Monday that she won by two strokes.
"If I don't win I don't win. But I'm having a great week. What's the worst case? I finish second. Then it happened," Geddes said. "I had an amazing 12 months after that. I won seven tournaments in 12 months. It was kind of a crazy time."
Of course, Baker and Geddes are not the only players with South Carolina ties to win the U.S. Women's Open.
Betsy Rawls, who was born in Spartanburg but grew up in Texas, won eight majors including four Women's Open titles (1951, 1953, 1957, 1960).
Pennsylvania native Betsy King, who starred on Furman's 1976 national championship team with Charleston native and fellow World Golf Hall of Fame member Daniel, Sherri Turner and Cindy Ferro, won two Women's Opens (1989, 1990). Both Daniel (1981, 1982) and Turner (1999) had runner-up finishes in the Women's Open.
And 1962 winner Merle Nostrum (Brewer), who now lives just across the border in Savannah, won her title at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach.