We’re at the halfway point of the 2nd U.S. Senior Women’s Open. After the average score nudged over 80 in Thursday’s first round, with nobody breaking par, three players shot in the 60s on Friday, raising the spirits of the competitors and the anticipation of what is sure to be an exciting weekend at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. With clear skies and rising temperatures ahead, here are three things to keep an eye on during Round 3 of the championship.
Will Familiarity Breed Success?
The entire top 4 from last year’s championship at Chicago Golf Club is right in the thick of things heading into the weekend. Reigning champion Laura Davies, who was tied for the lead after 36 holes last year before a third-round 66 set the tone for what became a 10-stroke victory, is in second place heading into Saturday, one stroke behind Helen Alfredsson, who tied for sixth in 2018. Last year’s runner-up Juli Inkster is tied for sixth, two strokes back, while third-place finisher Trish Johnson, who was tied with Davies at this point last year, finds herself tied for fifth, three strokes behind Alfredsson. First-round leader Danielle Ammaccapane, who finished fourth last year, is also three strokes off the pace.
Not that there isn’t opportunity for new faces to break through. Lisa DePaulo, who was the clubhouse leader for much of Friday after shooting 1-over 72, enters Saturday tied with – and paired with – Inkster. DePaulo tied for 37th in 2018. And Sue Ginter, the lone player in the top 10 who didn’t make the cut in 2018, is just three strokes off the lead.
And the more experience one has contending in a U.S. Open championship, the more they know not to take their position for granted. A low score early on moving can completely change the dynamic, and a few errant shots can quickly lead to high numbers.
“I've been there a few times in the U.S. Opens, and it's not something that you should ever think about,” said Alfredsson, who finished as the runner-up in the U.S. Women’s Open in 1993 and 2008. “Any time you play U.S. Open golf courses, and particularly at a place like this, you've just got to focus on what you have to do. It can change so quickly.”
FS1 will have coverage of Round 3 of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open from Pine Needles starting at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Shane Bacon will be in the booth with Brad Faxon and 2005 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Morgan Pressel, with Nicole Castrale and 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Brett Quigley providing on-course analysis. Former USGA executive Director David Fay will provide Rules expertise. You can also follow the action with highlights as they happen by following the USGA on Twitter.
Another Women’s Open Double?
When Laura Davies captured the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in 2018, she became the charter member of what will always be a very difficult club to gain entry to: Players who have won both the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Through two rounds, Davies has put herself in position to successfully defend her Senior Women’s Open title, but a pair of players also have a chance to join the Dame’s esteemed company. Juli Inkster, who won the Women’s Open in 1999 and 2002, is just two strokes off the lead, and 1988 Women’s Open champion Liselotte Neumann is within shouting distance, in a tie for 19th after two rounds. On the men’s side, seven players have won both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open. Davies would like to ensure that her group doesn’t get any bigger, at least for another year.
Scott Lipsky is the senior manager of digital media for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.