DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Oct. 29, 2016 – Australian Wendy Doolan had no problem navigating the 20-25 mph winds that buffeted today’s first round of the Walgreens Charity Championship presented by The Seagate Country Club.
The LPGA veteran carded an opening-round score of 3-under 69 at Seagate Country Club for a one-stroke lead over Lisa Grimes of Minnesota, who posted a score of 2-under 70 on The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA.
Doolan relied on patience on the front nine, making par on every hole, before scoring her first birdie of the round on No. 10.
More patience was needed as the wind picked up in the afternoon, making birdie putts tougher in spite of Seagate’s smooth-rolling greens. But Doolan shrugged when asked if the conditions made scoring more difficult in the season-ending Legends Tour event.
“I like the challenge of the wind and it actually keeps it interesting,” said Doolan, 47, now a teaching professional in Lakeland, Fla. “I think it’s boring to play golf with no wind. I like to be creative and the wind allows me to do that.”
Doolan held her ground late in the round. She missed the green on the 16th hole, but chipped in from 40 yards. She saved par from eight feet on No. 17, and holed out for birdie from the edge of the green on the final hole.
“Today was pretty solid,” said Doolan, a three-time LPGA Tour winner with six top-10 finishes on The Legends Tour.
Grimes, on the other hand, had to scramble. She fought to save pars from four to six feet for much of her round and finished the day with three birdies and one bogey, including birdies on holes 14 and 18.
“These greens are nice and when you get the ball on line, the putts should go in, but today was tricky with the wind,” said Grimes, 56, who has posted two top-10 finishes in three starts this season.
“It was a struggle today and I worked hard,” she added. “I don’t even think I’ll go hit balls after the round.”
LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster was the only other player to finish under par in today’s opening round. The Californian carded a one-under 71 to finish two shots off the lead.
Inkster birdied the first hole and No. 9, and recorded her only bogey on the par-4 13th hole with a three-putt green, but the wind made it difficult to get the ball close to the hole for birdie chances.
“I played well and hit 17 greens in regulation, but I didn’t make any putts,” said Inkster, 56, who played in 12 LPGA tournaments and worked as a television commentator in five tournaments this year.
Inkster struggled to convert birdie putts, largely from a distance of 15-18 feet in today’s wind.
“You have to hit a lot of three-quarter shots in the wind, but you still have to go ahead and swing at it,” said Inkster, who has 31 LPGA titles and two wins on The Legends Tour. “It wasn’t easy out there, but I like the way I’m hitting the ball. Now I just need to go out and make some putts.”
Helen Alfredsson of Sweden and Minnesota’s Michele Redman are tied for fourth at even-par 72.
Six players, including defending champion Liselotte Nemann of Sweden, and Legends Honors Division player Judy Dickinson, the head professional at West Palm Beach Golf Course, are tied at one-over 73. Dickinson leads Australian Jan Stephenson by one shot in the competition for players 63 and over.
“Some holes got really, really windy,” admitted Dickinson, 66, who relied on her steady short game throughout today’s opening round.
Tickets to the championship are available at Walgreens stores for $10, at $5 off the gate price. Kids 13 and under, as well as active military with I.D., get into the tournament free.
Sunday ticket-holders will also get free admission into a Little River Band concert on site following the championship, which will start around 5 p.m.
Tee times for the final round of the Walgreens Charity Championship will start at 8:30 a.m., with gates opening at 8 a.m.
Here are the final-round tee times for the Walgreens Charity Championship:
8:30 a.m. HIESTAND, Mary Jane (a) | GEDDES, Jane
8:39 a.m. SHEEHAN, Patty | PEARSON TUCKER, Paula
8:48 a.m. TSCHETTER, Kris | BRADLEY, Pat
8:57 a.m. SKINNER, Val | PALLI, Anne Marie
9:06 a.m. CRAFTER, Jane | RARICK, Cindy
9:15 a.m. RIZZO, Patti | KUONG, Pam (a)
9:24 a.m. DUNN, Moira | WEST, Lori
9:33 a.m. STACY, Hollis | BUNKOWSKY, Barb
9:42 a.m. JONES, Rosie | CROSBY, Elaine
9:51 a.m. PITCOCK, Joan | PALMER*, Sandra
10 a.m. CAPONI*, Donna | LITTLE*, Sally
10:09 a.m. HAMLIN*, Shelley | BLALOCK*, Jane
10:18 a.m. DICKINSON*, Judy | STEPHENSON*, Jan
10:27 a.m. JOHNSTON-FORBES, Cathy | DIBOS, Alicia
10:36 a.m. DANIEL, Beth | IVERSON, Becky
10:45 a.m. JOHNSON, Christa | RINKER, Laurie
10:54 a.m. MUCHA, Barb | HURST, Pat
11:03 a.m. NAUSE, Martha | MOXNESS, Barb
11:12 a.m. LOVANDER, Marilyn | LIDBACK, Jenny
11:21 a.m. KANE, Lorie | FINNEY, Allison
11:30 a.m. BARTHOLOMEW, Jean | AMMACCAPANE, Danielle
11:39 a.m. DEPAULO, Lisa | SHANAHAN ROWE, Laura
11:48 a.m. KING, Betsy | NEUMANN, Liselotte
11:57 a.m. FIGG-CURRIER, Cindy | JERAY, Nicole
12:06 p.m. REDMAN, Michele | ANDREWS, Donna
12:15 p.m. INKSTER, Juli | ALFREDSSON, Helen
12:24 p.m. DOOLAN, Wendy | GRIMES, Lisa
For complete scores, visit http://leaderboard.thelegendstour.com/?TID=68
For more information about The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA, visit www.thelegendstour.com.