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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the US Senior Women's Open

Well, it's about time, isn't it? And since the USGA finally gave the older gals a major of their own, I'm going to make some picks. Welcome to the US Senior Women's Open!

Golf Hall of Famer Pat Bradley

The US Senior Women's Open will be held at the Chicago Golf Club -- one of the five founding clubs of the USGA, in case you didn't know -- which will be playing at 6082 yards and a par of 73. There's all kinds of info you can get about the event from this USGA fact sheet, especially concerning the course, its setup and history.

I also want to link you to this great article by Beth Ann Nichols about time she spent with Pat Bradley, who will be playing in this event. The official website is this page at the USGA site, which has all kinds of links to the field. And by letting those articles give you the info you need, I can focus on my "5 to Watch" picks.

True, I often say that it's hard to pick winners for various reasons, but it's rare that I can point to a relative lack of playing time. It's true that there's a Legends Tour, but many of these players haven't played competitively for years. It's enough of an issue that the USGA has admitted they're more or less guessing at how to set the course to make an event that's competitive but not overly difficult. I doubt that will be as much of a problem in future years, but it's a reality for the 2018 edition.

Nevertheless, I have found five ladies who I believe have a serious shot at this title.
  • Laura Davies is still playing on the LPGA, so I think she has a real advantage in this inaugural event. Laura's game is not only sharper than many of the other players, but she still has a lot of her length off the tee. (That's just a function of continued competitive play.) And given the form she's shown this year, she has to make my favorites list.
  • The same is true of Juli Inkster, who, while she's playing a more restricted schedule these days, is still an active LPGA member. There is simply no substitute for competitive play, and even a limited schedule with the youngsters has to be good for them.
  • Trish Johnson is not only still active on the LET, but she's a multiple winner on the LPGA Legends Tour -- in fact, she won only a month ago! She too is in good form for this event.
  • Suzy Whaley, the first female officer of the PGA and soon to be the next PGA president, has played against the male pros before and is still very young for this event -- a mere child of 51, thank you very much. Still very active in the game, I think she also comes in with some confidence.
  • And my flier is Pat Bradley. To the best of my knowledge, Pat isn't playing the Legends Tour anymore. But if her nephew, PGA Tour player Keegan Bradley, can be trusted, her mind is as sharp as ever... and her competitive spirit as well. On a 6000-yard track, I can see her making a run at this thing.
My pick -- perhaps a sentimental one, but I don't care -- is Pat Bradley. I've seen her play some with the men on the Champions Tour, and she has more than held her own. I think she'll surprise a few fans this week, and perhaps more than a few of the competitors!

Actually, I believe quite of number of the ladies are in good enough form to take this event. The Legends Tour boasts more than 120 members, so I suspect this event will be much more competitive than many people expect.

The real bummer here is the minimal TV coverage the event is going to get. However, FOXSports1 will provide at least four hours of coverage on Saturday and Sunday, from 4-6pm ET. How can you miss a historic event like this?

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