PHOENIX — LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan gave Juli Inkster a hug after her closing 8-under 64 on Sunday in the Founders Cup. She jokingly recoiled when he addressed her as “playing captain.”
The 56-year-old Inkster is preparing to captain her second U.S. Solheim Cup team and wants no part of a dual role in August in Iowa, though she still loves to play and compete on the tour and showed again she has the game to keep up with much younger players. The 64 was her lowest round on tour since also shooting 64 in the third round of the 2003 Evian Masters.
“I like the challenge of getting better and playing,” Inkster said. “I don’t know if that makes sense, but I really enjoy playing golf. I really enjoy practicing and I really enjoy working on my game, especially when you have days like this where things come together and it works out.
“Just got to learn how to put the four rounds together again. I really like the direction I’m going. I’ve been working with a guy named Jeff Brehaut. He’s a friend of mine and he’s been good for me.”
Inkster has won seven major championships and 31 overall LPGA Tour titles, the last in 2006. She made the last her nine Solheim Cup appearances as a player in 2011.
Coming off a Legends Tour victory two weeks ago in Sun City West, the Hall of Famer tied for 24th at 16-under 272 at Desert Ridge — nine strokes behind winner Anna Nordqvist. Inkster opened with rounds of 65, 73 and 70.
“In order to win out here, you’ve got to play four really good rounds, four low rounds,” she said.
Inkster made a 15-footer for eagle on the par-5 fifth and had six birdies in her bogey-free round.
“I really like the way I’m hitting the ball,” she said. “Rolled the ball really well today.”