Laura Davies did something on Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup that she hasn’t done in 13 years. She turned in a bogey-free 9-under, 63 to move from a tie for 39th to the lead at one point before Inbee Park moved in front.
“I hit a lot of fairways and that gives you a chance to get relatively close to the hole,” said Davies, who changed to the claw grip with the putter in Arkansas last year. “I haven’t been holing the putts, but today I did. The no bogeys part for me is the biggest key because that is what has been letting me down."
Davies made seven birdies and an eagle and had a stretch of five birdies in six holes to close her front nine.
The last time Davies posted a 63 was the third round of the 2005 Wendy’s Championship for Children.
In her 32nd year playing the LPGA, the 54-year-old continues to show that she is not done yet.
“It’s been in my mind and I know I can still play great golf, but it is all about the short game,” said Davies, who attempted just 24 putts. “My short game is really coming around and a day like this tells me that we are really doing the right things.”
On the 18th green, it was clear that Davies is struggling with a bad left Achilles. After just missing her 25-foot birdie putt, she gingerly walked over to mark her upcoming par putt.
“It’s a struggle, it’s in the calf muscle now too,” said Davies, who has 20 career wins on the LPGA. “It’s just walking, swinging is fine, I can swing as hard as I want to, but every step is just misery.”
The Phoenix area holds a special place in Davies' golf career. She won the Standard Register Ping four different times over her illustrious career.
If Davies can pull off a win on Sunday it would be her first since the 2001 Wegmans Rochester Invitational. Further, Davies would be the oldest winner in the history of the LPGA. The current mark is held by Beth Daniel, who won the 2003 BMO Financial Group Canadian Women’s Open at 46 years, 8 months, 29 days of age.
“I’ll certainly have a crack at it,” said Davies. “I’ve given myself a chance now.”
Never bet against a World Golf Hall of Fame member. On top of that, Davies could move within a point of the LPGA Hall of Fame. She currently has 25 points and needs 27.