CHICAGO — Victory was almost a given heading into the final round of the first U.S. Senior Women's Open, so Laura Davies set her sights on something else she could take with her Sunday when she left Chicago GC: Momentum.
The 54-year-old Englishwoman finished off a decisive victory with a 5-under-par 68 that left her with a 16-under 276 total and a 10-stroke victory over runner-up Julie Inkster (73). England's Trish Johnson (73) finished at 4-under 288 and Danielle Ammaccapane (74) at 1-under 291, making them the only other golfers among the 55 who made the cut to finish in red numbers.
For Davies, the victory — her 66th in addition to her victories on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour — couldn't have come at a better time. She was set to board a plane for England where the LPGA Tour heads next for the Ladies Scottish Open in two weeks followed by the Women's Open Championship, which will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Anne's at the end of the month.
"I mean, winning is winning," said Davies, who is 66th on the LPGA Tour's CME Race to the Globe points standings. "It doesn't matter (which Tour). I think you see people like (Madison's) Steve Stricker and (2017 American Family Insurance Championship winner) Freddie Couples, when they play The Masters and the PGA Tour events, they go from the Seniors and winning regularly and their confidence transfers over. That's why I think they do quite well on the regular tour. You build up a bit of momentum and a golf course is a golf course. Sometimes, the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind, if you've done something like this, (shoot) 16-under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you with confidence."
Wisconsin's two remaining qualifiers, of the six who started the week, both turned in top-50 finishes.
Sheboygan native Martha Nause closed with a 4-over 77 to finish tied for 37th at 18-over 310. Madison's Becky Iverson, the director of golf at the Bridges GC, closed with a 6-over 79 to finish tied for 44th at 22-over 314.
The history of her accomplishment was not lost on Davies afterward.
"I've been looking at the boards out there," Davies said, referring to lists of women's USGA champions. "You know, some of them are from 1890 and ... all those names years ago that won women's USGA events, they all had a first winner and, you look at them and one day people will look at this tournament when I'm long gone and they'll see my name up there (on the trophy). I'm hoping to come back for a couple more years and play, but this thing is going to be around a lot longer than the rest of us so it's nice to get in there early.
"The trouble is, the U.S. (Women's) Open, I won that (in 1987) in my second attempt and never won it again. So I hope this isn't going to repeat history."