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Ann Casey Johnstone, NIACC Hall of Fame inductee

Photo No. 1 - Submitted photo is of Ann Casey Johnstone (left) and Babe Didrikson Zaharias before playing a match against each other in the 1940s.
Photo No. 1 – Submitted photo is of Ann Casey Johnstone (left) and Babe Didrikson Zaharias before playing a match against each other in the 1940s.

MASON CITY – The following is the first of a five-part series of stories on the class of 2016 NIACC athletic hall of fame inductees.

(By KIRK HARDCASTLE, NIACC sports information director)

Name a hall of fame and Ann Casey Johnstone is probably in it.

LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame (2004), check.

Iowa Golf Hall of Fame (1990), check.

The Sunday Des Moines Register Iowa Sports Hall of Fame (1977), check.

Iowa Sports Hall of Fame (1976), check.

Now you can add NIACC athletics hall of fame to the resume of Ann Casey Johnstone.

Casey Johnstone, who played for the Mason City Junior College men’s golf teams in 1940-41, played on the LPGA Tour from 1964-69.

She won the Iowa State women’s amateur six times and was the state amateur runner-up twice.

She was a member of the United States Curtis Cup teams in 1958, 1960 and 1962.

“My father didn’t play golf, but mother was pretty good,” Casey Johnstone was quoted as saying in story about her when she was inducted into The Sunday Des Moines Register Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. “I started caddying for her then started hitting a few balls.”

Casey Johnstone was a member of the first golf team at Mason City Junior College in 1940 and earned meet medalist honors for the Trojans in their first dual meet of the season against Albert Lea, Minn. In 1941.

Photo No. 2 – Submitted photo of Ann Casey Johnstone with her trophies when she lived in Mason City in the 1960s.
Photo No. 2 – Submitted photo of Ann Casey Johnstone with her trophies when she lived in Mason City in the 1960s.

Because other all-male teams refused to play against women, the men on her team had Casey Johnstone remain in the car in the parking lot until the last minute, her nephew Dick Casey recalled in a Globe Gazette story in 2014.

In the summer of 1941, Casey Johnstone won the first of her six state amateur titles.

In 1957, Casey Johnstone was a finalist in four of the nation’s major amateur tournaments for women, including the U.S. Amateur.

On the strength of her showings at the major amateur tournaments in 1957. Casey Johnstone was selected as a member of the 1958 United States Curtis Cup team, the women’s version of the Ryder Cup.

“The first Curtis Cup had to be the high point,” Casey Johnstone was quoted as saying in her Des Moines Register Hall of Fame story. “Standing there, representing your country, while they play the Star Spangled Banner and God Save the Queen.”

One of Casey Johnstone’s rivals in her playing days was Babe Didrikson Zaharias, who won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics and won 12 times on the LPGA Tour.

“I played several matches against Babe and she beat me every time,” Casey Johnstone was quoted as saying in the Des Moines Register. “Once I had her a hole down after the first nine, but she pulled it out.

“After the match, she laughed and said, ‘listen, you little pipsqueak, if you think you can beat me, you’ve got another thing coming.’ “

Of her six Iowa State amateur titles, her favorite was the last one in 1959, because it was won at the Mason City Country Club.

“The reason it was so important was that it was done in Mason City, my home” she was quoted as saying in the Des Moines Register. “I’m an Iowan, true and blue.”

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