Johnson, a 52-year-old from England, pulled off a high-risk trouble shot in Sunday’s final round. Lisa Grimes was second,
KINGSTON – If all you saw were the final results, you would believe Trish Johnson had an easy, simple victory in the inaugural Suquamish Clearwater Casino Legends Cup presented by Boeing.
Johnson, who led by four shots after Saturday’s first round at White Horse Golf Club, shot a 2-under-par 70 to win by five strokes over Lisa Grimes in the event for players 45 and older.
But in golf, seldom are things easy and simple. And Sunday was no exception.
Johnson’s four-shot lead was reduced to two after just two holes, when she missed 3-foot putts on each hole and made bogeys.
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But then, when it looked like the round could easily get away from her, Johnson made an 8-foot par putt on the third hole, then a 6-footer for a birdie on the par-5 fourth hole to extend the lead to three shots.
“I got off to a horrible start with those two dreadful bogeys,” said Johnson, 52, who finished at 8-under 136. “But I stayed patient, and you have to here because it is such a difficult course.”
Then came the shot of the tournament, even if Johnson said it wasn’t the smartest thing she has done. She hit her drive on the fifth hole about 6 feet behind a large stump with bushes growing out of it. It seemed she had no shot to the green.
“Nine out of 10 times, I would just chip it back out (into the fairway),” she said.
But if she could somehow hook the ball around the stump, and keep it low enough to avoid another tree further ahead, maybe she could pull it off.
“That’s a shot that can win you or lose you the tournament,” the English golfer said.
It sounded like the shot clipped the stump, but Johnson said it didn’t.
What is undisputable is that the ball got clear of the stump, went well below the other tree in the way, bounced onto the green and finished 2 feet from the hole.
“That was one of the best trouble shots I have hit in my life,” Johnson said of her shot from 100 yards. “That was ridiculous. There was some luck, but I also hit the shot just as I envisioned it.”
It was the second victory for Johnson on the Legends Tour, to go along with three LPGA Tour victories and 19 on the Ladies European tour. She has competed in eight Solheim Cups and all her experience winning undoubtedly helped her regain control after a tough start.
Johnson, who never led by less than three shots on the back nine Sunday, earned $25,000 from the $175,000 purse in the 30-player, no-cut event.
Christine Gregoire, the tournament co-chair and former Washington governor, said everything went better than hoped, with the exception of Saturday’s rain that stopped play for a while.
“We knew this was going to be a building process, and we are very optimistic about next year,” she said.
JoAnne Carner, the greatest woman golfer in state history, was unhappy with how she played, shooting an 83 Sunday and finishing in 22nd at 16 over. It was an event she really looked forward to and said she wants to return next year.
“I wanted to get in some extra work, but the rain in Florida made it impossible,” said Carner, who grew up in Kirkland and now lives in Lake Worth, Fla. “They did a nice job setting the course up, giving us short irons into the greens. That is usually my forte, but my iron shots were terrible today.”
• Wendy Ward, 45, was 10th in her Legends debut at 5 over. The longtime resident of Edwall, outside Spokane, has four wins on the LPGA Tour. Husband Nate Hair caddied for her. She is serving as his caddie Monday in a U.S. Senior Open qualifier in Sequim.