WHEATON, Ill. – Laura Davies and Trish Johnson had a talk about avoiding double bogey at Chicago Golf Club in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
Neither could do it, but Davies and Johnson recovered from rough spells early in their rounds on Friday to share the lead at the midpoint of the first U.S. Golf Association championship for women 50 and older. Both stand at 4-under par 142 heading into the weekend.
“I said to Laura yesterday, you have a chance to win if you don’t make doubles,” Johnson said. “And of course, I made a double today and you’ve got to keep those off your card.”
Davies slipped back to even par for the tournament with her double-bogey at No. 11 after starting on the back nine. She fell back to par again later on her first nine before running together a stretch of four birdies in six holes to finish with her second straight 71.
“I had a bit of a rude awakening on my second hole,” Davies said. “Three-putt for a double bogey, so that was a nasty start.”
One of the longer hitters in her days on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, Davies didn’t really need the extra distance provided by rock-hard fairways on the ancient prairie-style links.
It helped just the same. And she still seems to have trademark length off the tee like when she was younger.
“It’s about the same,” Davies said. “The equipment is that much better than it was 20 years ago.”
Johnson also had a double-bogey after starting on the back nine, but recovered and briefly gained sole possession of the lead with an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole.
“That (5-wood) was probably the best shot of the day, because that green is wicked,” Johnson said. “Yeah, I hit it absolutely perfect, just pitched into the bank and up to about 10 feet and rolled it in. So that was a bonus.”
Johnson surrendered sole possession of the lead with a three-putt bogey on her final hole on the par-4 ninth.
Johnson is attempting to follow up last year’s victory in the PGA Senior Women’s Championship with a win in another new major senior tournament.
She came into her fourth tournament of the year with a sore wrist and hand, but some physical therapy helped.
“It wasn’t going to stop me from playing, but it seemed to feel a lot better today,” Johnson said.
Juli Inkster is third at 1-under 145 after a 71. Danielle Ammaccapane fought back with a 71 after a rough first round and trails by four shots.
Inkster said younger senior players are drawing inspiration from the way a handful of seasoned seniors like JoAnne Carner, Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley and Sandra Palmer have managed to walk the course and compete in rough conditions at the 72-hole event.
“They didn’t have to play – they wanted to play, and they want to support the Senior Open,” Inkster said. “I think everybody wants to win this trophy so everybody is going to be trying really hard.”
First-round leader Elaine Crosby trails by six strokes after shooting a 5-over 78.
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