(Reuters) - Laura Davies had collected 16 of her 20 LPGA victories before this year’s major winners Brooke Henderson and Lydia Ko were even born, but the English veteran showed on Thursday she can still compete with the teenagers.
The 52-year-old fired a six-under-par 65 to vault into a five-way share of the first-round lead at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Michigan.
Davies has not won an LPGA event since 2001 and acknowledges she does not have a good enough short game to compete on a regular basis these days.
“There’s room for the likes of myself and Juli Inkster and a few of the other old girls to show what we can still do because we all hit it well,” Davies said after her round on the Blythefield course in Grand Rapids.
”It’s just the short game separates the top players from the ones that are just struggling a little bit sometimes.”
Davies shares the lead with a group including defending champion Lexi Thompson, who parred her first nine holes, before jump-starting her round with an eagle at the par-five first (her 10th hole), where she holed out from 72 yards.
Henderson is two strokes back after putting her major championship celebrations on hold and getting back to work.
Four days after capturing the Women’s PGA Championship, becoming both the second youngest woman and second Canadian to win a major, Henderson reeled off some precise approach shots, and also made a 35-foot putt, in posting five birdies and a bogey.
“It was a pretty amazing day on Sunday and ... it has been a busy couple of days since then but I’ve just been enjoying it and I’m looking forward to this week,” the 18-year-old told Golf Channel with a beaming smile.
“I’m really glad to add (the Women’s PGA) to my highlights but I’m excited for this week, excited for the three majors left of the LPGA tour this year and the rest of the tour schedule.”
Henderson is equal 13th on a crowded leaderboard with, among others, 19-year-old Ko, the South Korean-born New Zealander she beat in a playoff on Sunday.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine