Davies runs away with U.S. Senior Women's Open

Updated 7/15/2018 7:48 PM
  • Laura Davies, of England, holds the U.S Senior Women's Open golf tournament trophy at the Chicago Golf Club, Sunday, July 15, 2018, in Wheaton, Ill.

    Laura Davies, of England, holds the U.S Senior Women's Open golf tournament trophy at the Chicago Golf Club, Sunday, July 15, 2018, in Wheaton, Ill. Associated Press

Back in jolly old England nearly 40 years ago, young competitors Laura Davies and Trish Johnson played a game of golf against each other.

"I played her first when I was 13 and she was 15, in English Girls -- and I won," Johnson said, smiling.

"And that was the last time I won."

Well, no one -- not even Johnson, winner of the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship last year -- was going to beat Davies on Sunday at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton.

The leader by 5 strokes heading into the final round, Davies doubled her advantage by day's end, never faltering en route to a runaway championship in the first U.S. Senior Women's Open.

The 54-year-old from Coventry, England, finished 16 under for the tournament, closing with a 5-under round on the par-73 layout. Juli Inkster finished a distant second at 6 under for the tournament after an up-and-down round of even par.

Johnson, who played with Davies and Inkster in the final group for the second day in a row, also shot a final-round 73 and finished third at 4 under. Danielle Ammaccapane (1 under, final-round of 1 over) was the only other player to shoot under par for the four rounds.

It was the 85th professional win for Davis, the 1987 U.S. Women's Open winner, but her first since 2010 in India.

"That's the pressure you're playing under when you're trying to just do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win," Davies said following her 68, which was 2 shots more than her third-round score.

"So this ranks highly up there, and obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard to compare tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements, I can assure you that."

After bogeying only one hole Saturday, Davies put together a bogey-free round thanks to a clutch putter, which she even used on the par-5 second and again on the par-5 fourth from just off the green. She birdied both holes.

And maybe her best putt of the day came on the 10th to save par. Inkster had wrapped up the front nine with back-to-back birdies to get to 7 under, 6 back of Davies.

With Inkster on the green on the par-3 10th, Davies blocked her tee shot, which landed on the right side of the green with a left-pin location.

"I hit my first really rank shot of the week," Davies said.

She then putted her ball past the hole and nearly into a bunker. A comebacker from 8 feet hit the bottom of the cup, maintaining her cushion of a half-dozen strokes.

"That was massive when that dropped in the top side because I misread it and I pulled it," Davies said. "It wasn't the greatest hole I've ever played, but I think that was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there."

Inkster, who made par on the 10th, birdied the par-5 12th, but Davies matched it. Then on the par-3 13th, a pulled tee shot by Inkster led to a double bogey. Davies parred the hole, and the trophy was all but officially in her strong hands.

Johnson, who started the day 7 shots behind Davies, got up and down on 18 for her third birdie of the day, but she also carded a bogey and double on the par-3 seventh.

Inkster's day included a pair of putts that lipped out, including one from about 2 feet on No. 3. Inkster, who has 3 U.S. Women's Amateur and 2 U.S. Women's Open titles to her credit, also needed 4 shots to reach the par-5 second but grinded all day in typical fashion for the 58-year-old native of California.

Davies added birdies on Nos. 16 and 18, her fourth and fifth of the day.

"She was absolutely spectacular this week," said Johnson, the 52-year-old from Bristol, England. "Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career. She just said walking down 18 that (Saturday) was the best ball-striking that she's ever had.

"Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat."

• Twitter: @JoeAguilar64

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