written by Olivia Pennybaker

Nancy Lopez is one of the biggest names in women’s professional golf, winning 48 LPGA Tour events, including 3 major championships. Born in Torrance, California in 1957 to Mexican-American parents, Lopez began golf at an early age when her father introduced her to the sport at age 8. At only12 years old she won the New Mexico Women’s Amateur. Lopez played on her high school boy’s golf team and in 1974 was given a golf scholarship to the University of Tulsa. After only two years in college, Lopez turned to professional golf. In 1977 she joined the LPGA Tour, competing in 6 events, finishing 2nd in half of them. In 1978, Lopex took off, winning 5 events in a row, and racked up a total of 9 wins that season. She was named both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year. Her first major win also came in 1978, winning the LPGA Championship. During the 1980’s, Lopez won 25 events, including 2 more majors, and in 1988 became the 4th player in PGA history to make over $2 million in winnings. Not only was she dominating golf, but she married and had 3 kids during this time, pioneering the idea that women can have a family and a career at the same time. Lopez played throughout the 1990’s and retired from professional golf in 2002 but her impact on the game of golf does not stop there. In 2005 she captained the US Solheim Cup team to victory against Europe. She has a clothing and equipment line for women called Nancy Lopez Golf and hosts an annual golf tournament where she lives in Florida to benefit AIM, a charity dedicated to helping people with special needs. In 2016 Lopez even made a visit to First Tee - Louisville, speaking at the Tales of the Tin Cup event that February. Lopez’s story inspires girls from any background to pick up a golf club and dream big.