Alcott and Juli Inkster won the event twice each, Inkster once in a marquee-worthy playoff with Nancy Lopez, Betsy King and Rosie Jones.
Kathy Whitworth, the LPGA's career victory leader with 88, won for the final time at Sleepy Hole. Dottie Pepper, now an excellent television analyst, prevailed at Greenbrier, as did three-time U.S. Women's Open champion Hollis Stacy.
The women's group was the Portsmouth Service League, and Wren served on its fund-raising committee. Looking for a project idea in 1977, she happened to be in Florida with her husband, Ken, attending a mixed-team event featuring two promising young players: Lopez and Curtis Strange.
During play, Wren heard someone remark that professional golf raised more money for charity than other sports combined. Upon returning home, she immediately called Elizabeth Manor pro Butch Liebler.
Wren envisioned a men's tournament, but PGA Tour officials discouraged her and suggested the LPGA. Thanks to Lopez's unrivaled rookie season — nine victories, including five straight — in 1978, Wren found fertile marketing and enlisted United Virginia Bank (later Crestar) as title sponsor.
Wren estimates the tournament generated more than $500,000 for charities over the years.
"Oh my gosh," she said. "I wouldn't take anything for those 15 years. I had no clue the journey I was beginning."
Today, Wren volunteers as a fund-raiser for area foundations and dotes on her six grandchildren, ages 4-13. She has attended some of the LPGA events at Kingsmill, mostly to connect with folks such as Inkster, Daniel and Haley.
But Wren never was a golfer or golf expert. Her specialties were sales and hospitality.
"It made us feel like we were part of the family," Daniel said.
But then the family split.
"Once it was over, it was over," Wren said of her tournament. "I still enjoy watching them on television, but I certainly don't follow it closely."
Yet she's keenly aware that this may be last call at Kingsmill.
"I would be very sad," Wren said. "But who knows? Maybe someone else would step up to the plate, or tee."
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.
Wren recalls area's first LPGA tourney
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