American Meg Mallon, who has been selected to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame next year, has a distinctive Canadian connection having won the Canadian Women’s Open on two occasions including the 2004 event on the Doug Carrick designed Battlefield course at Legends on the Niagara. Mallon will join 2016 Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III, 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam, and former world number one Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, all of whom will be formally inducted next September along with the late golf writer and BBC commentator Henry Longhurst.
Mallon, 53, who became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1987, won 18 LPGA Tour events, including four major championships. She won three times in 2004 including her second U.S. Women’s Open. Her win at Legends on the Niagara that year was her second Canadian Women’s Open title, a 4-shot victory over Beth Daniel with scores of 65, 70, 65, 70 for an 18-under-par total of 280.
Mallon’s first win on Canadian soil came at the 2000 du Maurier Classic at Royal Ottawa, once considered one of the four LPGA majors until the ban on tobacco sponsorship caused its near-cancellation. Mallon was one of a parade of LPGA stars who lobbied hard to find a new sponsor and in 2001 the Bank of Montréal made a five-year commitment to the tournament, renaming it the BMO Canadian Women’s Open. With a purse of $2.25 million USD, the championship is today known as the CP Canadian Women’s Open.
The 2004 Canadian Women’s Open was the first major competition played at Legends on the Niagara, which officially opened in June 2002. Tournament director Sean Van Kesteren of Golf Canada, organizers of the event which attracted 41,000 spectators, called the course selection a “no brainer”. According to Van Kesteren, “We knew Legends had all the qualities we were looking for with superb conditioning and great greens. Everything logistically was perfect for an LPGA Tour event”. Winner Meg Mallon agreed. “This was the best-conditioned golf course we’ve played all year,” she said.
Over the years Legends on the Niagara has continued to host important national championships among them the 2014 Canadian Junior Boys Championship and two Canadian Women’s Tour events including the 2014 affair won by a 16-year-old Canadian Brooke Henderson. Now an LPGA regular ranked among the top-5 players in the world. Henderson is on track to a Hall of Fame career of her own.