Fort Worth resident Mina Hardin, a native of Mexico City, stood as a pioneer for Mexican golf long before she took her place as a national champion at the 2010 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur.
Two decades before the world knew about Lorena Ochoa, Hardin became Mexico’s first LPGA Tour competitor during the 1980s while playing under her maiden name, Mina Rodriguez. But by winning the Senior Women’s Amateur title last month in Fort Myers, Fla., Hardin achieved something no other Mexican golfer _ male or female _ had ever done: She won a USGA event.
“It’s been a privilege to put that on my resume,” said Hardin, 50, who regained her amateur status in 1991 after leaving the LPGA Tour in 1989. “It’s the pinnacle of anyone’s career to win a USGA event. To be the first Mexican golfer to win one … that’s a dream come true.”
With her title, Hardin also broke fresh ground on the local front. She became the first female golfer from Fort Worth to win a USGA event by knocking off Alexandra Frazier, 2 and 1, in the final match at Fiddlesticks Country Club. Although she maintains her Mexican citizenship, Hardin said: “I call Fort Worth ‘home.’”
Hardin, who moved to Fort Worth in 1991, plays out of Mira Vista Country Club _ where she is a 13-time women’s club champion _ and may be the only athlete in Tarrant County who had a better October than the Texas Rangers. The American League champs won two-of-three playoff series on their way to the franchise’s first World Series.
Hardin won three high-profile events in three attempts. In addition to her national title, Hardin also won the women’s division of the ESPN Golf Connection Tournament of Champions _ open to club champions from courses in North Texas _ and capped the month with a victory at the Senior Southern Women’s Amateur, an event in Texarkana with competitors from eight states.
“It was a great October,” Hardin said. “It’s wonderful to win a national championship.”
Especially when it makes you a golf pioneer. In your home country as well as your adopted hometown.
_ Jimmy Burch