It wasn’t anything to write home about for Trish Johnson (London, England), but her 1-over par 73 on Saturday was good enough to retain a one-shot lead on 4-under through two rounds at the Senior LPGA Championship presented by Old National Bank in French Lick, Ind. She carded four birdies in the round, but three bogeys and a double bogey on No. 17 left Johnson limping into the clubhouse.
“I didn’t play great,” said Johnson. "Everything was good yesterday. Everything was average today. I didn’t putt very well, hit some good shots. I went bogey-bogey on Nos. 10 and 11, which I was not very happy with. I hit a good drive there. I’ve got 60 yards and I’m in a horrible divot. Not a wide one, a tiny little one, and all I could see was the ball coming out like an arrow and it did, it flew. I was a little unlucky and I thought ‘You can either feel sorry for yourself or pull it together, you’re not out of the tournament so stop.’ And I did.”
Having won the inaugural edition of this senior women’s major championship in 2017 after sleeping on the 36-hole lead, Johnson finds herself in a familiar spot with the final round looming. While experience certainly helps, she knows the field will be gunning for her on Sunday. Johnson said she will stay focused on carding a low number.
“Just try and shoot the best score tomorrow of anybody, so that way I win. If you start thinking about anything else, you won’t sleep. It doesn’t matter that it’s a senior tournament, it’s a tournament,” said Johnson. “Everybody is trying to win. When you’re leading, you want to win. I’m sure I won’t sleep particularly well tonight, but I think tomorrow I am just trying to shoot the best number of anybody. And if I don’t, I don’t. There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m trying my best.”
MORE SOLID PLAY FROM MOIRA DUNN-BOHLS IN FRENCH LICK
After a 3-under 69 in round one, Moira Dunn-Bohls (Utica, New York) followed it up with a 72 on another toasty afternoon at French Lick Resort. Her round was highlighted by four birdies on the front nine, including three straight from Nos. 2-4. Despite cooling off coming in, Dunn-Bohls was pleased with her performance on Saturday.
“On the front, I hit a lot of greens and made a few putts,” said Dunn-Bohls. “On the back, I felt like I got a little tentative with the putts, had one get away from me on No. 10. It was a little bit of a different day. We definitely were shooting more for the pins because you really felt like they were going to hold.”
Like so many in the Senior LPGA Championship field, golf is no longer a full-time career for Dunn-Bohls, who spends her time working at the golf club she grew up at in New York. Time to play and practice can be hard to come by, but she’s making the most of it and is in contention heading into the final round of a senior women’s major championship.
“Some days I’ll go out with my husband and we’ll play nine holes, but when you’re spending six or seven hours in the shop or are out on the range for a couple of hours teaching, sometimes you just want to go sit which isn’t necessarily the best for your golf game,” Dunn-Bohls said. “Usually a week or two before, I’ll kind of get in a groove where I’m hitting balls but it’s hard when you’re not playing tournament golf, to jump right in and play tournament golf. It’s always fun to satisfy that competitive spirit that I have. It’s so nice to have a venue to go out and satisfy that, go out and be an athlete again.”
MOXNESS SHOWS HER MOXIE IN SECOND ROUND OF SENIOR LPGA
It was a 1-under 71 for Barb Moxness (Edina, Minnesota) on Saturday at the Senior LPGA Championship, one of six under-par rounds carded on the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort with hot temperatures derailing much of the field. Moxness now finds herself in a three-way tie for second at 3-under heading into the final round, one shot back of the lead.
“On the front, I made some good putts and two great pars on Nos. 1 and 9,” said Moxness. “I got to 10 and I didn’t hit that bad of a shot, but I couldn’t get the club on the ball on the third shot so I ended up making six. That was the only bad shot that really cost me today. Coming in, I hit it solid and didn’t make any putts for birdie, but I hit it solid and had chances.”
With an opportunity to capture a senior women’s major on the line, Moxness knows that staying in the moment is the best course of action for Sunday, especially around a track like the Pete Dye Course. No matter what happens, she’s relishing the chance to play and trying to stay focused with the test ahead.
“To try and win the tournament is one thing, but this course is so hard that it’s a good distraction from thinking about that because you’ve got to hit every shot,” Moxness said. “If I miss a shot within a five-foot difference than what I’m looking at, I’ve got some bizarre shots left. Every shot I hit has to be very focused and very precise and that kind of keeps me in the game a little better. I love to play, I love to compete, so it’s great to be here and be able to do this.”
AFTER TOUGH LESSONS LEARNED IN 2019, WALKER FINDS HERSELF INSIDE TOP-10
Lee Ann Walker (Southport, North Carolina) made headlines at the 2019 playing of the Senior LPGA Championship, but for an unfortunate reason. She was assessed 58 penalty strokes after her caddie stood behind her as she lined up her putts in the first two rounds, a rule that changed in 2019 becoming grounds for penalization. While it was a tough experience to go through and resulted in her missing the cut, Walker has no qualms about it, now able to laugh about her mistake.
“It was one of those things, I didn’t know my rules. It was my fault,” said Walker. “Nobody to blame except me. I called it on myself. People that know me know that I’m an honest player. I made a mistake and owned up to it, took my licks so I’m the most improved golfer now. It was a learning experience. It was nobody’s fault except my own, so I’ve learned from it. I checked up on my rules before I came.”
Bygones are bygones and with that incident squarely behind her, Walker finds herself in a tie for eighth ahead of the final round at French Lick Resort. She’s another player savoring the opportunity to tee it up competitively again and recognizes what a privilege it is to play the game she loves in great company.
“I don’t play a whole lot, so I just came out to see friends, have some fun, and play the best golf that I can,” Walker said. “And no, it’s not life and death. I do real estate and building back home now in North Carolina, so that’s more of my focus. When I get to come out and play golf, great. I don’t put as much pressure on myself.”