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Trish Johnson shot a 5-under 67 in windy conditions Monday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior LPGA Championship, the first major championship for senior women.
The 51-year-old Englishwoman birdied all four par-5 holes and had seven birdies and a double bogey in wind gusting to 33 mph at French Lick Resort’s Pete Dye Course.
“It was a tough day, but I struck the ball really nicely and the wind didn’t affect me too much,” Johnson said.
Johnson won the Legends Tour Championship last year at French Lick, beating Juli Inkster on the sixth hole of a playoff. The eight-time European Solheim Cup player won three times on the LPGA Tour and 19 times on the Ladies European Tour.
“Everyone wants to win the first major,” Johnson said. “The competitive juices never go away.”
She chipped in for birdie on par-4 15th.
“I got a bit lucky. I hit the drive well, but I let it go into the wind,” Johnson said. “It ended up in the heavy stuff and I had a flyer in the rough. I hit a wedge to the back of the green. The moment I hit it, I thought, `Oh, that’s nice.’ And It just dropped in and that was a major bonus.”
Carolyn Hill was second. She had six birdies and five bogeys.
Marilyn Lovander was another stroke back at 72, and Hall of Famer Betsy King and Michele Redman shot 73.
Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann, coming off a Legends Tour victory in May in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, had a 74.