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Elaine Crosby leads inaugural US Senior Women’s Open

  • Laura Carson watches her approach to the first green during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Nancy Lopez, left, greets Hollis Stacy during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Laura Carson reacts to her tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Jane Blalock watches her tee shot on second hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Tammie Green Parker lines up her putt on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Sally Little watches her approach shot to the first green during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • JoAnne Carner, left, laughs with Sandra Palmer on the first tee during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Martha Nause retrieves her ball from the cup on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open. AP

  • Trish Johnson, of England, watches her tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Hollis Stacy tees off on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday. AP

  • Cindy McConnell tees off on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Helen Alfredsson, of Sweden, tees off on the first hole during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Nancy Lopez announces golfers during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White

  • Nancy Lopez, left, greets JoAnne Carner during the first round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open golf tournament in Wheaton, Ill., Thursday, July 12, 2018. (Daniel White/Daily Herald via AP) Daniel White



Associated Press
Friday, July 13, 2018

WHEATON, Ill. — Considering the historical importance for women’s golf, Elaine Crosby realized this round carried a good deal of significance.

Crosby shot a 3-under-par 70 Thursday at Chicago Golf Club for the lead after one round of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

“It’s history for women’s golf,” said Crosby, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour. “We’ve worked really hard.”

A winner of two tournaments in 17 LPGA seasons, the 60-year-old Crosby owns a one-shot advantage over England’s Trish Johnson, Laura Davies and Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann heading into Friday’s second round.

Unlike the men, women professional golfers haven’t enjoyed an expansive senior tour with only a handful of events held on The Legends Tour.

So the chance to play a major USGA event for the first time has been important to the sport’s future.

“I mean, just being here, it’s just an amazing feeling,” Neumann said

Crosby had to qualify to play in the first senior open and on Thursday made the most of it.

She started on the back nine with a 3-under-par 34 and made just one bogey on the day at one of the oldest 18-hole courses in the country. Crosby called a par save on her first hole a key to her round, and from there a smart approach made the difference as firm, dry fairways made it possible for shorter hitters to excel.

“I’m not a long hitter necessarily,” Crosby said. “I’m certainly not hitting it with Trish Johnson.”

The winner of three LPGA titles and 19 Ladies European Tour titles, Johnson also won the first Senior LPGA Championship in 2017. She birdied four of the par 5s on Thursday.

“It’s a U.S. Open,” Johnson said. “My sort of pressure, I suppose for me, is that I won the first Senior LPGA Championship. So I’m the only one that can win them both at the same time, the first one. So that would be quite something.”

Davies needed an eagle on 18 to finish within a shot of the lead.

Helen Alfredsson shot a 72, while Juli Inkster, Jean Bartholomew, Marilyn Lovander and Alicia Dibos matched par.

The first 72-hole USGA championship for women 50 and older began with a tee shot by the oldest player, JoAnne Carner. The 79-year-old proceeded to shoot her age and has set a goal of making the 36-hole cut.

Players must walk the 72-hole tournament, and Johnson said endurance will be a key to who eventually wins.

“It’s four rounds walking, which is not something you do on The Legends Tour,” Johnson said. “It’s hot, and it’s going to get hotter, so you might be — it might be about stamina to be honest.”