WITH TEMPERATURES DIPPING into the 40’s by late afternoon, a frozen filed of 80 players struggled to get around the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort.
When it was done, U.S. Sr. Women’s Open Champion Laura Davies had put in her bid to win both senior women’s majors in 2018.
Davies had to survive a lost ball from her tee shot on the 18th hole, and make birdie on her second ball, to save bogey and finish with a first round 4 under par 68. Davies was 6 under par going to the 17th tee, but when her approach shot flew the green, she had to settle for bogey. By saving a bogey on 18, she hold’s a one shot leader over three players, including U.S. Senior Women’s Open runner up Juli Inkster. Inkster was down four shots heading to the 18th tee after making what she called ” a sin” of a bogey on the 17th hole, after just missing the green with a 9-Iron in hand.
But Inkster who admits she still gets mad, blasted a long drive on 18 that found the fairway. She ripped a fairway wood onto the Par 5, 18th green and made a 15 foot putt for eagle. After Davies bogey on 18, that four shot deficit was only one headed to round two. Neither Davies or Inkster made a bogey until the 17th hole.
Maria McBride who turned 45 on Monday, made the deadline to play in the championship by 1 day. McBride shot 69 along with Liselotte Neumann to be tied with Inkster.
Jane Crafter was alone in fifth place at 2 under par. There players were tied at 1 under par, making the number of eight players who shot in red numbers. Five players headed up by University of Minnesota women’s golf coach Michele Redman were at even par.
Defending champion Trish Johnson was under par early in her round, but fell back to a +1 (73) and is tied for 14th.
Click here to hear the interviews with leaders Maria McBride, Liselotte Neumann, Julie Inkster and Laura Davies.
Tee’s were moved up due to the cold, and the yardage was near 6,100 yards for the day. Temperatures will reach the upper 50’s for Round 2, and sunshine is finally expected. Round 3 should be played in low 60 temperatures.
Tee times for Round 2 have been pushed back about 10 minutes later from the start of Round 1.