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American Champion Alexa Stirling was a childhood friend of Bobby Jones

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Three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Alexa Stirling won her first organized golf tournament in 1910 against her childhood friend, the great Bobby Jones. He was seven at the time and she was 12. However, rather than giving the trophy to a girl, the organizers awarded it to Jones. In 1915 Stirling won the first of her three Women’s Southern Amateur titles. She catapulted to success in 1916 by capturing the Women’s Amateur title in a nail-biting 2 &1 final against another promising young golfer, Mildred Caverly.

WWI was one of Stirling’s most challenging rivals, suspending the national women’s championship for the two years. Stirling joined forces with Bobby Jones, Perry Adair, and Elaine Rosenthal for the Red Cross war effort. The “Dixie Kids” played exhibition matches across North America, raising a remarkable $150,000.

In 1919 at war’s end, Stirling successfully defended her U.S. Women’s Amateur title. The following year, Scottish-born champion Dorothy Campbell Hurd challenged her tenure. The stakes were high as both women competed for their third American Championship, but Stirling won the tournament 5&4, capturing her third consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur title.

The Atlanta girl dubbed the “Empress of Golf” relinquished her title in the 1921 to Marion Hollins at Hollywood Golf Club. In 1925, Stirling broke Campbell Hurd’s qualifying-round record, but was defeated at The Greenbrier by the great Glenna Collett.

After winning two Canadian Amateur titles, Stirling, who was also a dedicated violinist, settled in Ottawa, married a Canadian doctor and lived there until her death at the age of 79. She was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 1989 and portrayed as a character in the 2004 film Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius.

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