Laura Davies among contenders after eventful Day 1 at U.S. Senior Women's Open

USGA/Chris Keane

Laura Davies among contenders after eventful Day 1 at U.S. Senior Women's Open

Professional

Laura Davies among contenders after eventful Day 1 at U.S. Senior Women's Open

WHEATON, Ill. – Laura Davies’ 10-foot eagle putt on the last hole at Chicago Golf Club did not ease the pain of England’s World Cup loss. Hoisting the trophy at the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, however, would surely do the trick. Davies’ 2-under 71 puts her one back of Elaine Crosby, a 60-year-old from Michigan who played on the LPGA from 1985 to 2000.

Trish Johnson, winner of the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship, joins Davies and Liselotte Neumann at 2 under. Helen Alfredsson (1 under) rounds out the fivesome who broke par on Day 1.

“You stand on the tee and you think, right, you can take this place apart,” said Davies, “but you know that’s not actually going to happen because the tees are generous … they let you get that, and then your second shot has to be in the right quadrant of the green because they’re big, square-ish greens.”

Putting mired what could’ve been a low round for the World Golf Hall of Famer. She three-putted once from 4 feet and again from 10 feet.

Davies and Neumann, who first played against each other in the 1979 European Juniors, were paired together alongside Inkster, who shot even par. Inkster has made only one cut this year in nine starts on the LPGA, citing trouble on the greens.

“I putted really good today,” said Inkster, “and I hit the ball like crap.”

Overall the seven-time major winner was pleased with the performance, saying multiple times that it could’ve been worse.

Golf Channel reporter Kay Cockerill overcame a serious case of the nerves to card a 1-over 74 in her first tournament (outside of a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier) since 1997.

While Cockerill tried to get down some breakfast, she watched a six-minute video from Golf Channel co-workers – from engineers to commentators to producers – wishing her luck.

“I was literally going back and forth between laughing and crying,” she said.

Cockerill’s hands were shaking early, but a birdie on her second hole (No. 11) helped to settle her down.

“The hardest thing, honestly, is the putting and how tricky these greens are and tapping into the right speed,” said Cockerill. “You think you hit a pretty good putt, and it just rolls on by another 6 or 8 feet instead of being 2 or 3 feet.”

To stay in the moment, Cockerill tried to emulate Inbee Park’s almost meditative look on LPGA fairways.

Hollis Stacy, Amy Alcott, Suzy Whaley, Rosie Jones and Jan Stephenson all shot 4-over 77, good for a share of 29th, while Pat Bradley and Betsy King shot 78. The top 50 and ties make the cut.

JoAnne Carner, who striped the first tee shot at 7 a.m. to get the championship underway, shot her age – 79 – on the strength of a back-nine 1-under 36. Carner hadn’t walked 18 holes since 2004. When a USGA official asked if she planned to catch some action later in the day, Carner smiled and said “That’s the funniest.”

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