INKSTER STORMS AHEAD AT SENIOR LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a fight for the top spot during the second round of the Senior LPGA Championship. When the dust cleared, 31-time LPGA Tour winner and seven-time major champion Juli Inkster came out in solo first with a day-low 69 to put her at -3. Inkster, who debuted in the senior major last year and finished T12 at +6, said she was happy with the way she grinded on the Pete Dye Course.
“I actually drove the ball really well today, so I got a lot of wedges in. I kind of struggled with my distance control but it’s hard with the wind. You’re down and that wind’s up. I didn’t get it very close, but I had a lot of chances out there. Couple bad bogeys with wedges in my hand, but overall, I thought I played well,” said Inkster.
Inkster has been close to capturing a senior major title twice; in 2018, she finished in solo second at the 2018 U.S. Senior Women’s Open and in a tie for second at that championship in 2019. Although she would like to add a senior major to her impressive resume, the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member said winning at French Lick will be a battle.
“There’s a lot of people that would like to add a major, so I’ve got myself in position. Tomorrow I just have to go out there and play some golf,” said Inkster.
Behind Inkster lies a trio at -1: Four-time LPGA Teaching & Club Professional (T&CP) National Champion Jean Bartholomew, LPGA Tour winner Moira Dunn-Bohls and 2017 winner Trish Johnson. Dunn-Bohls, who said she does not get to practice or competitively play often, knows anything can happen on this course.
“I didn’t start real great. I just tried to hang on there. I didn’t think anyone was going to go crazy because it was a lot harder conditions,” said Dunn-Bohls. “The wind was blowing a lot more today than it was yesterday, so it was about hanging on. You know, you’re one swing away from disaster. I missed my mark by five yards [on No. 18] and made seven. It happens.”
The 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open champion Helen Alfredsson and 13-time LPGA Tour winner Rosie Jones are eyeing the top in a tie for fifth at even-par. Jill McGill, who started the day with a four-stroke lead, dropped to solo seventh after recording nine bogeys.
Defending champion Laura Davies sits in a tie for ninth at +3. There were 49 players to make the cut at +14.
BARTHOLOMEW PLAYING FOR SOMETHING MORE THAN A MAJOR
Jean Bartholomew knows what it takes to win; as an LPGA Teaching & Club Professional (T&CP), she is a four-time winner of the T&CP National Championship. Now, she is closing in on capturing a senior major title, sitting in a tie for second at -1 and just two strokes behind leader Juli Inkster. Despite a roller coaster day, Bartholomew said she was relieved to play well through the windy conditions.
“It was crazy. I was all over the place. I didn’t hit many fairways, but luckily I hit it far enough that still with all those crazy lies, to get it on the green. I’m glad there’s no pictures on the scorecard,” said Bartholomew. “I got off to a good start but it was tough. It was windy and a grind. I’m exhausted. But it was fun.”
Bartholomew said her only competitive practice came from playing with Val Skinner in a pro-pro scramble together, but most of her time is spent teaching. Aside from play, Bartholomew is motivated this week thinking of her friend and fellow T&CP member, Patti Benson.
Benson, who was inducted into the LPGA T&CP Hall of Fame in 2011, served as the T&CP National President from 2002-2009 and earned the 2009 Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award. This past May, she was diagnosed with C Difficile, which is a highly contagious bacterial spore infection. In late August, she posted on her personal Facebook page on her treatment process. Benson’s fight has encouraged Bartholomew through this Senior LPGA Championship.
“I’m playing more for Patti than me this week. Anytime I want to get mad I think of Patti and what she is going through,” said Batholomew. “It’s all about perspective. This isn’t my living anymore. I love to compete but it’s more fun. Try to enjoy it. Who knows how long you’re going to be able to play.”
Juli Inkster (1, -3), on the strategy for the final round
“Today I did everything pretty good. I think my wedge game was a little bit off but it’s hard out there, trying to not go over or not go right and try to dial them in. I think I just need to be a little sharper tomorrow with my wedges.”
Moira Dunn-Bohls (T2, -1), on the challenge the Pete Dye course brings
“He [Pete Dye] had an extraordinary vision here. To think about him seeing this and imagining this and building this and then coming out here and playing it – you have to do what the course wants you to do. You can’t really go after it very often. Even on the greens, the course is in immaculate conditions and they’re holding amazing, but you just look up there and see them and you’re like, ‘if I miss this by five yards, where will I go?’”
Juli Inkster (1, -3)
- In 2018, Inkster finished in a tie for twelfth at +6 at the Senior LPGA Championship
- She is a member of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame (1999) and World Golf Hall of Fame (2000)
- Inkster came in a tie for second in 2017 and solo second in 2018 at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open
- Inkster is a 31-time LPGA Tour winner and seven-time major champion, and has made over $14 million in career earnings
- She has five wins on the Legends Tour, including one this season at the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup
- She is still active on the LPGA Tour and made six appearances in 2019
- Inkster is a nine-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member and three-time captain
Jean Bartholomew (T2, -1)
- In 2018, Bartholomew finished in a tie for 16th at +9 at the Senior LPGA Championship
- She joined the LPGA Tour in 1996; she originally qualified for the Tour at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, where she tied for 28th to earn non-exempt status for the 1996 season
- Bartholomew’s best career finish on the LPGA Tour was a tie for second at the 2000 Wachovia LPGA Classic hosted by Betsy King
- She is four-time LPGA T&CP National Champion
Trish Johnson (T2, -1)
- In 2018, Johnson finished solo sixth at +3 at the Senior LPGA Championship and won the inaugural tournament in 2017
- She is a three-time LPGA Tour winner and a 19-time Ladies European Tour winner, which is tied for third-most all-time
- Johnson has four Legends Tour wins
- She was an eight-time European Solheim Cup team member
- Johnson won the 1987 LPGA Tour Qualifying School to earn playing rights for the 1998 season
Moira Dunn-Bohls (T2, -1)
- In 2018, Dunn-Bohls finished in a tie for 19th at +10 at the Senior LPGA Championship
- She was a LPGA Tour rookie in 1996; her career-best performance is a win at the 2004 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
- As a competitor on the Women Professional Golfers’ European Tour (WPGET), tied for second at the then Weetabix Women’s British Open and finished 10th on the WPGET Order of Merit.
- She qualified for the Tour by tying for ninth at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 1996 LPGA season