Helen Alfredsson wins 2019 Senior LPGA Championship

Courtesy: Rick Sharp

Helen Alfredsson wins 2019 Senior LPGA Championship

LPGA Tour

Helen Alfredsson wins 2019 Senior LPGA Championship

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FRENCH LICK, Ind. — Senior majors titles come in twos now, apparently. Helen Alfredsson joined Laura Davies as Senior Slam winners, sweeping the U.S. Senior Women’s Open and Senior LPGA Championship in the same season.

In fact, Alfredsson has become quite the presence in these senior major events, with her only finish outside the top 3 coming at the 2018 Senior Women’s Open, where she took a share of sixth.

On a brutally frigid day at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick, the colorful Swede came from three back of Juli Inkster to beat the American Solheim Cup legend by three strokes. The 54-year-old Alfredsson also edged Trish Johnson and Inkster by two strokes at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open in May at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club.

SCORES: Senior LPGA Championship

“You just don’t feel like you’re hitting the ball as good as you want,” said Alfredsson of conditions that, at times, were up to a 3-club wind. “Everything is a struggle. Nothing is smooth. You just need to get away with stuff.”

Alfredsson managed just fine, recording one of two rounds under par in Wednesday’s final round, a 2-under 70. Michelle McGann, who went out in the first group solo, shot 69.

This marks the third time Juli Inkster has finished runner-up at a senior major, coming in second at both Senior Women’s Opens. An American player has yet to win a senior major title.

“You know what,” said a disappointed Inkster, “the sun’s going to come up tomorrow.”

Alfredsson admitted that she’d normally be watching Netflix on a day like today back home. Being rusty in bad conditions made it difficult to trust her yardages. But on the other hand, the toughness of the day made it easier for her to focus.

Some of that precision can be traced back to a scouting trip she took in March to see Pine Needles.

“I had panic attacks,” said Alfredsson, who returned back to Florida more focused than ever in her practice sessions.

“I knew that if you’re itsy bitsy off,” she said, “you’re going to be way off.”

The same can be said of the bounces here at French Lick.

Golf Channel reporter Jerry Foltz said the Dye Course was as unforgiving as TPC Sawgrass built on a mountainside. Judy Rankin deemed there to be no safe places here.

Alfredsson, a seven-time winner on the LPGA, practices with the guys from the back tees when she’s at home and took a stab at Bethpage Black earlier this year. She prides herself on still being able to hold it together between the ears when pressure mounts.

“I’ve always liked to be able to do it at the end,” she said, “to be strong, to be head strong.”

Being at a senior major automatically brings good vibes for Alfredsson, who enjoys being around women she basically grew up with travelling the tour.

“Everybody has pain and aches,” she said. “We call it the fill-in-the-blanks because you can’t remember half the stuff.”

Like a hat, for example. Alfredsson gave credit to the woman who gave her a French Lick stocking cap before the final round. She wanted to give it back after the round, along with a tip.

“I think that’s the hardest thing, to pack properly,” said Alfredsson. “The golf is not so bad because you know what to do, but packing nowadays. It seems like you are always forgetting something of importance, like socks or a hat.”

Alfredsson has always loved the game. Viewed it as her therapy. While it doesn’t exactly look smooth out there, the golf course is actually where her brain is the quietest.

“So you know,” she said, “not that I look like I have a routine – in my head I have a routine.”

On an exhausting day in the hills of Indiana when chaos could’ve ruled, Alfredsson found a bit of calm beneath the warmth of a borrowed hat.

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