McGill Captures the Fifth U.S. Senior Women’s Open by 1 Shot Over Lindley

Jill McGill of San Diego and USC was about to win the fifth U.S. Senior Women’s Open and she didn’t even know it.

The 50-year-old McGill, in her first year of eligibility for the tournament, shot even-par 73 on a day when no one in the field broke par and won by a single stroke over Leta Lindley at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio.

McGill was about to tap in the winning putt when defending champion Annika Sorenstam of Sweden told her to mark her ball instead so she would hit the final stroke of the tournament.

“(Sorenstam) goes, ‘You’re going to win,’” said McGill, who never won on the LPGA Tour, where she last played in 2013. “I was like, what? I really had no idea.

“It’s been a really, really long time. I’d always been a little bit disappointed that I couldn’t figure out how to get it done. I was a different person out there this week, truly, in terms of just acceptance of, ‘Hey, you’re making the best decision you can. You’re trying to execute the best you can.’ That’s all you can do.

“I knew at the turn I was a couple back, and from that point on, I really had no idea. I knew that I was close when I made a couple of birdies. I was disappointed with that bogey on 17. I tried not to focus on it. All I could do was what I could do, and whatever everybody else was doing was what they were doing.

“ … I love the USGA. I’ve loved it ever since I got spanked in my very first U.S Junior Girls by Brandie Burton. That was a welcome to competitive golf.”

McGill made birdies on the 14th and 16th holes to take the lead and won with a score of 3-under-par 289 despite making bogeys on the last two holes.

Having also won on the 1993 U.S. Women’s Amateur and 1994 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links when she was at USC, McGill joined Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, JoAnne Carner and Carol Semple Thompson as the only players to claim three different USGA titles.

Lindley made her only birdies in the final round on two of the last three holes to cap a 74 and finish second, while 2019 champion Helen Alfredsson of Sweden made an eagle on the 16th hole to highlight her 76 and finished two shots back in a tie for third with Catriona Matthew of Scotland, who had four birdies on the back nine in a 73.

Sorenstam, who has won 92 times in her pro career, made only two birdies in her 77 to wind up four down tie for fifth with 2018 champion Laura Davies of England, who made a quadruple-bogey 8 at No. 12 in a 78, and Juli Inkster of Los Altos, a 45-time winner as a pro, who birdied two of the last three holes for a 73.

Catrin Nilsmark of Sweden eagled the 16th hole on her way to another 73 that left her five strokes behind in solo eighth, while Michele Redman, the 2011 Legends Tour Open champion, made her only birdie on the first hole of a 75 to wind up six shots behind in a tie for ninth with Liselotte Neumann of Sweden, the 1988 U.S. Women’s Open champion, who birdied three of the first four holes in another 75.

McGill became the first American to win the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, which was not played in 2020 because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, and will defend her title next year at Waverly Country Club in Portland, Ore.

She’s also exempt in this tournament for the next 10 years, which means she’ll be back at San Diego Country Club, site of her U.S. Women’s Amateur victory, for the 2025 event. In addition, McGill’s victory earned her an exemption into the 78th U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in next year.

Said McGill: “I love Pebble Beach, it’s heaven on earth.”

For complete results, visit https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/championships/2022/u-s–senior-women-s-open.html#!scoring

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