By Kent Gray
Laura Davies’ putter is finally cooperating and it has the golfing Dame eyeing her first main tour win since 2010 with the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Classic set for a multi-player, Saturday shootout.
The 54-year-old Englishwoman rolled back the years by rolling in nine birdie putts en-route to a third round 66 on the Majlis Friday.
Davies’ blade didn’t behave totally with three putts at fault for all three of her bogeys. But the four-time major champion is still at -8, four adrift of 54 hole leader Anne Van Dam (The Netherlands) and very much in the mix for what would a unexpected 46th Ladies European Tour victory. Unexpected to everyone apart from Davies herself, that is.
“As unrealistic as people probably think it is, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could win,” said Davies.
“Ultimately, I haven’t won for seven years on the regular tour [but] I believe I can win. I’m not saying I will, [not] by a long shot, but if any of the girls are here and don’t think they can win, they probably shouldn’t be here.”
Davies, a huge Liverpool FC fan and car enthusiast, won a Legends Tour event in 2012 but has to go back to 2010, when she impressively won five times, for her last main tour triumph.
She has seen the green shoots of a revival this year with opening rounds of 68 and 69 at the British Open and Evian Championship respectively but this will be the first time in a long time that she’s been able to mix it up in a final round.
So what’s clicked?
“Well, the putting. Overall, the putting’s the thing that’s turned around the last eight, 10 weeks and that creates birdies.
“Ball-striking’s decent, but it takes the pressure off when you know you don’t have to hit it stiff to make a birdie anymore.”
If Van Dam had got to 13 or 14 under par, Davies reckoned the Dutchwoman might have been out of sight. The advantage is still with the big hitters including American Angel Yin who is at -10 and two back. But at -12, Davies sniffs a decent “chance”.
With 84 victories worldwide, if anyone knows how to get it done today, Davies is it.