The State Open of Virginia is one of the biggest golf tournaments played in Virginia year-in and year-out. Some of golf’s biggest names have won the event including Sam Snead, Chandler Harper, Bobby Cruickshank, Keith Decker, Vinny Giles, and Lanny and Bobby Wadkins. With such a storied past, it is not often history is made in this event anymore. That will change this year as Joanna Coe, PGA will be the first female to compete in the tournament in its 96-year history.
Joanna Coe is originally from Mays Landing, New Jersey and boasts an impressive playing career. She attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL where she was a four-time All-American, winning the 2008 Division II Individual and Team National Championships as a Freshman. After a decorated college career, she played professionally on the Symetra Tour before becoming a PGA Professional. She has continued her great play as a PGA Professional as she was named the 2019 PGA National Women’s Player of the Year, played on the U.S. Women’s PGA Cup Team, and is a 4-time winner of the MAPGA Women’s Player of the Year. She is currently the Assistant Director of Instruction at Baltimore Country Club in Timonium, MD.
Her illustrious playing career has led her to be the first female to compete in the State Open of Virginia and she is no stranger when it comes to playing with the guys.
“It [the longer yardages] is a more comfortable yardage for me anyway. It frees me up to hit driver and hit it hard and that’s more of the player I am rather than laying up and being conservative,” says Coe. She will look to hold her own in this historic event as she tees off in Round 1 on Thursday at 1:30. “I’m just looking forward to playing competitive golf again. I like to challenge myself in a new place and I love seeing how I can manage and shoot some good scores at a place I’m not familiar with.”
She qualified for the event as an exempt player by being in the Top-10 of the 2019 MAPGA Player of the Year Points and also for making the 2020 PGA Professional National Championship field. The Middle Atlantic PGA and Virginia State Golf Association are excited to have her in this year’s field. The tournament will take place at Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke, VA on July 16-18.