Trish Johnson posted an even-par, 72 on Tuesday to maintain a strong grip at the top of the leaderboard at the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort.


She is 5-under, 139, through 36 holes and is three shots clear of former Indiana University star Michele Redman (Minneapolis, Minnesota).

Johnson and Redman are the only players under-par through 36 holes.

Four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane, who has made one start on the LPGA this year, is in a tie for third at 1-over, 145 with Liselotte Neumann (Finspang, Sweden) and Carolyn Hill (Saint Petersburg, Florida).

Conditions at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort were much calmer on Tuesday. A total of 11 players finished under-par in round two compared to just two players in round one (Johnson, Redman).

Johnson, 51, made a double-bogey on one, but settled in with a par on two and a birdie on three. She made bogey on four and turned in 38. Like she did in round one, Johnson again started to separate form the field on the back nine. She made a 25-foot birdie putt on 12 and another birdie on 13. Johnson made five pars to end her round. She is 6-under on the back nine with no bogeys through two days.

“I’m not feeling as happy as I was after day one, it was hard work and it wasn’t enjoyable,” said a brutally honest Johnson. “I didn’t play well and I didn’t putt well so I suppose level par is pretty good after I lost my tee shot off the first. It was a battle to say the least.”

Johnson couldn’t find much positive in the round. She said it was just one of those days.

“As well as I hit the ball on the range before I went out, it shouldn’t have been as hard as I made it,” said Johnson. “I turned every positive I had going into the round into a negative. Sometimes the brain works in a mysterious way.”

Johnson took a four-stroke lead into day two and will take a three-stroke lead into the final-round. The trophy ceremony will take place by the pavilion right across from the driving range.

“I want the trophy as badly as everyone else without a shadow of a doubt,” said Johnson, an 18-time winner on the Ladies European Tour and a three-time winner on the LPGA. “Everyone is thinking the same thing and Michele (Redman) had a really good round today, which I fully expected.”

Redman made birdie on 18 after getting on the green in two to finish with a 3-under, 69, the low round of the day.

“It would be extra special to have a big finish,” said Redman, who went to school at Indiana. “I would love to win this. There is no question that I would love to win this because I know a lot of the people here and they’ve been really good to me every time I’ve come.”

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