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Indiana Golf Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2016

December 2nd, 2016

2016 Hall of Fame Banquet Photo Gallery

For the first time in its 52 year history, the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame inducted three women together, including Ann Gregory, the first African-American woman to compete in a USGA Championship and Therese Hession and Kyle O’Brien Stevens, former AIAW National Champion teammates, LPGA Tour members and collegiate coaches.

It was fitting that the ceremony was held at Hillcrest Country Club in Indianapolis, where, as young girls in the late 1960’s, Hession and O’Brien Stevens met in the 6th fairway. All inductees were introduced by current Indiana Golf Hall of Fame members, Hession and O’Brien by mentors Ed Knych, PGA and Don Essig III, PGA respectively and Gregory by Tom Meeks. Gregory’s daughter JoAnn Overstreet accepted the award on her behalf.

With the induction of these women, the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame now includes 97 individuals, comprised of Major Championship winners, PGA & LPGA Professionals, USGA & PGA Presidents, State Champions, golf course architects and other Indiana Golf contributors.
Ann Gregory
Born in Aberdeen, Mississippi in 1912, Ann (Moore) Gregory moved to Gary, Indiana with her husband, Percy, in 1938. Gregory, a natural athlete in her teens learned how to play tennis, becoming the Gary City Champion. However, in 1943, and in her early 30’s, Gregory decided she would learn to play golf and joined the all-black Chicago Women’s Golf Association (CWGA). Within four years of taking up the game, Gregory won the CWGA Championship, the Joe Louis Invitational and the United Golf Association Championship. It was at this time, the black press dubbed her the “Queen of Negro Women’s Golf.”
In 1956, the CWGA became the first black golf organization to join the USGA, thus making its members eligible for USGA Championships. In July of 1956, Gregory became the first African-American woman to compete in a USGA Championship at the U.S. Women’s Open at Northland CC in Duluth, Minnesota. Later that same year, Gregory broke the color barrier at the U.S. Women’s Amateur as well, competing in her home state at Meridian Hills CC in Indianapolis.
From 1956 through 1988, Gregory competed in a total of 27 USGA Championships, including six U.S. Women’s Opens, seven U.S. Women’s Amateurs and 14 U.S. Women’s Senior Amateurs, where she was the runner-up in 1971. Gregory was also the 1989 Women’s Golf Gold Medalist at the National Senior Olympics at the age of 76.
In addition to her playing accomplishments, Gregory also integrated the Gary Public Library Board and South Gleason Park GC where a marker stands today in her honor. Gregory passed away in 1990 at the age of 77 and was preceded in death by her husband Percy. Her family includes her daughter JoAnn, granddaughters Lorie and Piper and great-grandchildren Torrance and Taryn.

More information on Ann Gregory’s career can be found in the 1991 Sports Illustrated article Playing Through Racial Barriers by Rhonda Glenn.

THERESE HESSION Kyle O'Brien & Therese Hession
Therese Hession’s golf career has spanned over four decades where she has experienced success as both a player and coach. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Hession won the 1973 Indiana Girl’s State Junior Championship and in 1973-74 became the first ever IHSAA champion in girl’s golf while leading Ladywood-St. Agnes High School to the team title.
Hession attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) and, while there, won the 1977 Indiana Women’s Amateur Championship and 1978 Indianapolis City Championship. In 1979, she captained an SMU team that won the AIAW National Championship and was named First Team All-American.
Hession spent the next 11 years as a member of the LPGA Tour, where she competed in over 250 LPGA events during that span, including seven U.S. Women’s Open Championships. On Tour, Hession had finishes as high as fourth and was in the Top 150 of all-time career money-winners at the conclusion of her career. In 1989 she was honored with the LPGA Tour Samaritan Award. Upon leaving the LPGA Tour, Hession became the Head Women’s Golf Coach at Ohio State University, where she has remained in that position for over 25 seasons.
During her time at Ohio State, Hession has been named the National Coach of the Year on two occasions, while leading the Buckeyes to 10 Big Ten Championships and 15 NCAA Championship appearances. Additionally, she has coached 37 All-American Scholars. Hession is a former president of the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, an organization that inducted her into their Hall of Fame in 2005. She was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.
KYLE O’BRIEN STEVENS 1979 SMU National Champions
Kyle O’Brien Stevens began her golf career in her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana where she was a standout athlete. In 1975, Stevens won the Indiana Girl’s State Junior Championship and was the runner-up at the U.S. Girl’s Junior Amateur Championship. She also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur that same year. Additionally, in 1975, Stevens led her North Central High School team to the second of back-to-back IHSAA State Championships where she won Individual Medalist honors and was the IHSAA Mental Attitude award recipient.
From Indiana, Stevens made her way to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where she won the AIAW National Championship as an individual, in addition to a team title, in 1979. She was named Golf Magazine’s 1979 Collegiate Player-of-the-Year and was a two-time First Team All-American in 1979 & 1980.
After SMU, Stevens qualified for the LPGA Tour and in 1981 was named Golf Digest’s LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year. Stevens’ LPGA Tour career yielded five top-10 finishes, including a career best runner-up finish. She also competed in all LPGA major championships before multiple back surgeries forced an early end to her professional career.
In 1986, Stevens returned to SMU where she was named Head Women’s Golf Coach. Stevens coached the Mustangs for seven seasons and also served as the SMU Director of Women’s Athletics from 1989-92. Today, the Kyle O’Brien MVP Award is given to the top SMU women’s golfer annually.
Stevens is a member of the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Player Hall of Fame, SMU Athletics Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Southwestern Conference Hall of Fame.
The Indiana Golf Hall of Fame is a part of the Indiana Golf Foundation, which exists to ‘teach life lessons through the game of golf.’ The Indiana Golf Foundation also includes The First Tee of Indiana, Indiana Junior Golf Program and Gongaware Indiana Junior Golf Academy. The Indiana Golf Foundation is a 501 c3 organization and is funded by the generosity of golfers across Indiana.