(Salina, KS) - LPGA fans will see many familiar faces on the list of competitors for the Senior LPGA Championship in Salina, Kansas this week. Among the big names is defending champion Trish Johnson. Johnson isn’t only last year’s winner, though. She also holds the title of the only two-time champion of this event.
“It’s fun being the defending champion,” said Johnson. “It gives you a little extra confidence, as long as you’re playing well, and I feel like I’m playing well.”
This is the first year the championship has been held in Salina. Previously, it took place in French Lick, Indiana. Although Johnson is not familiar with the new course, she feels confident that it will provide the same experience as years past.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Johnson. “It’s a new golf course. I haven’t played it yet, but I’ve been around it, had a quick look, and it looks like it’s going to be fun.”
Other notable players, including Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam, Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb and Laura Davies, will tee it up at Salina Country Club. Johnson says the event reminds her of the good old days, a time when she was in awe playing alongside these women – and, also, a little intimidated by them.
“It’s a stellar field at the end of the day,” said Johnson. “There are some really good players, and there’s going to be some really low scoring. If you’re going to win this, you’re going to have to shoot plenty under par.”
Johnson says that she thinks plenty-under-par means deep into double digits. Her game plan for the week, which she’s adapted recently, is to go out and have one quick swing thought. The veteran says she’s seen a trend in her game – put more emphasis on practice, play like rubbish. After thinking less about each swing and instead prioritizing having fun, Johnson saw her game improve.
While looking back at her time on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET), Johnson says she wishes she had known how lucky she was in those moments.
“I look back and think I was so lucky to play in the era I did with utter superstars,” said Johnson. “I just wish I had enjoyed it a little bit more, like I do now.”
When she’s not on the course playing, Johnson still surrounds herself by the game of golf. She’s taken on a side job as a commentator with Sky Sports for Solheim Cups, Ryder Cups, and most recently The Open Championship.
“I enjoy it, most of the time, but it does also make me realize how much I love playing,” said Johnson. “I’m going from that last week back to what I consider my day job. It does make me realize how lucky I am to be a player still.”
Johnson chases the feeling of having a chance to win, something she gets with the Senior LPGA Tour. As long as she keeps enjoying the game, she’ll keep teeing it up.