Tampa golf pro to tee up at U.S. Women's Senior Open

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For more than 25 years, Jennifer Cully has been giving lessons on the course. Before that, she had a goal: Play in the U.S. Women's Open.

It seemed like a distant dream, until recently.

"I've tried to qualify many times, probably between 10-12, I'm not sure of the exact number," she said. "That was many years ago, and now I made it!"

Cully will play in next week's U.S. Women's Senior Open, a USGA sanctioned event in its second year.

"It really has been a career-long dream to play in a U.S. Open," she said. "I've played in other tour events, I even played in an LPGA major, but this is right up there. I would say it's the biggest thing."

Cully competed in an 18-hole qualifier at Eaglebrooke Golf Club for a shot to fulfill her lifelong goal. The 10 lowest scores would make the field. However, there was a four-way tie for seventh place, so to make it, she'd have to do it in a playoff, and she did it on the first hole.

"I can't even describe how it felt when I made the putt on that playoff hole," she said. "I was just flabbergasted that I had done it!"

Next week, 25 of Cully's students will join her on her trip to play at Pine Needles Golf Resort in North Carolina.

The longtime teacher of the game has become a student of it again while practicing at Pasadena Country Club. The U.S. Women's Senior Open is another chance to chip away at USGA glory.

"When you're a little kid, and you're practicing on the putting green, all of us that are golfers say, 'To win the U.S. Open!' or I've been saying 'To qualify for the U.S. Open.' for a long, long, long, long time. It's just huge," Cully said.

She is one of five Bay Area players in the field for the U.S. Women's Senior Open. The others are Jane Geddes, Marilyn Lovander, Pat Shriver, and Lorie Wilkes.

The tournament will be played May 16-19, and the final two rounds will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.