A hot day in French Lick, Indiana saw fiery starts from the field at the Senior LPGA Championship presented by the Old National Bank. Trish Johnson from England led the way with a 5 under 67, her only stroke coming on the 15th hole.
“I just did everything pretty well,” said Johnson. “I got a bad shot on 15 and I actually hit quite well that it was just going in the wrong direction, which wasn’t ideal because you don’t want to miss the one on the left, but that was the only bad shot. that I met. “
Johnson was closely followed by Becky Morgan of Wales, who fired a 4 under 68 on Friday. Morgan had a clean card to a bogey on the last hole of the day but was happy with her overall performance.
“I hit some fairways but had a lot of 9 irons and wedges in the par 4,” said Morgan. “It was a pretty easy lap until I turned 18 and then I messed up a bit, that’s a bit annoying. It was target golf because the greens are very soft, so you just hit the number and it comes close. “
The Pete Dye Course, which had already had significant rain earlier in the week, was further softened after a severe thunderstorm halted play at 4:00 p.m. ET and left two groups to finish their final holes. Game resumed at 5:48 p.m. ET, allowing the entire field to complete the first round. Round two begins on Saturday at 9 a.m. ET.
GOOD VIBES HELP TRISH JOHNSON TO LEAD FRENCH LICK EARLY
There is something about the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort that Trish Johnson (Bristol, England) just likes. Winning memories certainly help – Johnson brought home her first senior LPGA title in 2017 – but also good energy, something the Englishwoman feels in Indiana.
“I think when you play well on a golf course you’re just in a good mood,” said Johnson after carding six birdies on the first round. “I’m in a really good mood and that gives you confidence and we all know that confidence is everything. I just did everything well. I drove the ball well. I hit my irons nicely. I putted a lot. It sounds a bit stupid to miss 5, but it could have been a lot less. It’s the best I’ve played in a long time. “
The 5 under 67 gives Johnson a one-shot head start, and she knows that on a bizarre track like this, the key to success is dealing with your failures. Though she made the Pete Dye Course look a little easy on day one, it’s a place where mediocre golf becomes a punishment.
“This golf course is weird,” said Johnson. “If you play really well it is very accurate, but if you play a little bad it is damn impossible. If you hit the ball well, you can have many short (approach) shots. I had a lot of short recordings today and it gives you every chance. I obviously like this place. It just fits my eye. It suits my game. So I enjoyed it, but there is still a long way to go. “
NEEDLE LOOKING, SOFT CONDITIONS HELP MORGAN GET A FIRST ROUND 68
Flag hunting is usually not rewarded by Pete Dye designs. With small, hilly green complexes, most players aim for the center just hoping to have a chance at birdie and happy to find the dance floor in the first place. But in the first round of the Senior LPGA Championship Becky Morgan (Abergavenny, Wales) went looking for pins and was rewarded with a 4-under 68.
“I had a lot of short irons that hit very close, so I had a lot of three- and four-footers for birdie,” said Morgan. “I actually missed a couple of them early on. I hit some fairways but had a lot of 9 irons and wedges in the par 4s. It was a pretty easy lap until I was 18 and then messed up a bit, so that’s a bit of a pain. It was target golf because the greens are very soft, so you just hit the number and it comes close. “
The soft greens cost a bit of the fire to a normally tough Pete Dye Course and that’s something Morgan and the rest of the field are using to their advantage.
“You can fire most pins if you have a short iron in,” said Morgan. “It’s not really going anywhere. A couple of times it was backup, that was the nice thing because obviously you don’t have to blame yourself for the publication. If you hit him on the fairway, you have a good birdie chance on most holes. “