FRENCH LICK, Ind. – Juli Inkster left her putter in the porta-potty off the sixth green at the Pete Dye Course. She sent her caddie, Ralph Scarinzi, back to look for it outside.
“He’s walking all around,” said Inkster, “looked like he was circling the wagons.”
The putter was inside. Next to the urinal.
It was that kind of start for Inkster at the Senior LPGA Championship, where she stood 4 over after the first eight holes.
But if there was ever a place to grind – and that could be the LPGA Hall of Famer’s middle name – it’s here at French Lick, where Inkster said it’s sometimes better to miss big than a little bit.
The seven-time major winner has played the last 27 holes in 7 under to lead a field of familiar faces by two strokes.
SENIOR LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Leaderboard
Inkster might leave her putter in behind from time to time, but the LPGA legend hasn’t forgot how to win.
“The way I grinded to come back and give myself a chance to just be in the hunt,” said Inkster, “I’m proud of myself for that.”
Jean Bartholomew, Moira Dunn-Bohls and Trish Johnson are two back at 1-under 143. Dunn-Bohls double-bogeyed the closing par 5 to move two back.
“You’re one swing away from disaster,” said Dunn-Bohls, who won once on the LPGA in 2004. “I missed my mark by 5 yards there and made a seven. It happens.”
Dunn-Bohls, who last played a full schedule on the LPGA in 2014, got married three years ago and splits her time between Tulsa and New York. When back at her childhood course, Cedar Lake Club in Clayville, she gives lessons to juniors and helps out in the shop.
Like many in this field, Dunn-Bohls said she started practicing in earnest about 10 days prior to the event.
“You’re out there hitting balls trying to figure it out like you used to,” she said.
Inkster, a two-time runner-up at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, played for the first time in the Senior LPGA last year and finished tied for 12th.
Helen Alfredsson and Rosie Jones are three shots back. Jones won 13 times on the LPGA but never captured a major title. Alfredsson triumphed at the Senior Women’s Open earlier this year at Pine Needles.
Dame Laura Davies, who last year captured both senior majors, shot 74-73 and is tied for ninth.
Temperatures are forecasted to drop significantly for Wednesday’s final round.