Trish Johnson, playing for the long term

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According to figures, Trish Johnson of England is a 53-year veteran touring pro with 27 career victories hoping this year for the fourth time Lacoste Ladies Open to win the France.

That is a major task in a field of hungry young professionals of half their age who like to leave their own mark on the professional wave of women.

But to dismiss Johnson as just a veteran in a young professional game is to not fully understand an impressive career that only a few women have.

July Inkster from California, Laura Davies from England, Catriona Matthew from Scotland, Johnson and the United States Senior Women & # 39; s Open champion Helen Alfredsson from Sweden, are all players who put their tournament schedules in. have reduced in recent years but have remained competitive.

They continued to play, win or compete deeply in their careers until the 1950s. Inkster and Matthew led Solheim Cup teams in Scotland for the United States and Europe last week.

"I am probably more motivated than ever because I like to participate in competitions," said Johnson, who played in this month's championship as a winner of the French Open Ladies last (1996, 1999 and 2010.) ]

"I don't know exactly why I have always played well in France, but once you do, you will always get some sort of in your head," she added.

most of her career in the shadow of Davies and was also overshadowed by Alison Nicholas, also from England, who, like Davies, won a United States Women & # 39; s Open.

But Johnson, a limber 5-foot-10 athlete, has had her competitive position at every level since the mid-1980s. As an amateur, she was the English Amateur and English Women's Stroke Play champion from 1985 and a member of the Curtis Cup team of Great Britain and Ireland in 1986.

Johnso n always had a stiff competition from Davies at home in England. They had met at an English girls' championship when she was 13 and Davies 15, Johnson said.

"I was the winner and that was virtually the last time I defeated her," said Johnson, who regularly faced Davies for the next three decades on the Ladies European Tour and LPGA tour.

Johnson started her professional career on the Ladies European Tour in 1987 and that season was the biggest rookie of the tour with three wins. She was the 1990 Order of Merit winner of the tour with four wins and finished in the top 10 in winning 15 times from 1987 to 2014.

Even during her most productive years in Europe, Johnson often bounced back and forth from Europe to the LPGA tour in the United States, where she gained membership in 1988 after winning the annual LPGA qualifying tournament in 1987.

From the 1980s to the early 2000s, Johnson amassed 19 L.E.T. wins, three L.P.G.A. wins and three wins on the Legends Tour, the tour in the United States for L.P.G.A. players aged 45 and over.

Her last L.E.T. the victory came at the age of 48 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open 2014. That was followed by a victory over the inaugural 2017 Senior L.P.G.A. Championship, and through her most recent wins at the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup 2018 and the BJ & # 39; s Charity Championship 2018, a Legends Tour team event that she played with Davies.

Earlier this summer, she finished second with Inkster at the United States Senior Women & Open, two shots behind Alfredsson.

"I think what makes Trish such a great and productive winner is her never-given attitude and determination," said Davies, member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"She likes to compete, and that's what keeps her going," Davies said. “You have to have that love of competition to last. She certainly doesn't get the honor she deserves.

Davies and Johnson were members of Europe & # 39; s first Solheim Cup team in 1990 and would mate twice during the biennial event between Europe and the United States.

Johnson was a member of eight European Solheim Cup teams, and although Davies was the high-risk bomber of the combination, it was Johnson who would take steel attacks under pressure and tap critical putts to fire their team.

"Once she hits one of those birdie stripes, she's hard to stop," said Martin Park, her coach. "It's fun to watch."

Johnson started working with Park in the fall of 2011. She turned to the swing coach to see what else she could get out of her game as her competition became younger and longer.

"I still think I can get better," she said about her decision to refocus her game. "And I really didn't lose any length when I was in my mid-twenties."

Park and Johnson focused on her swing, balance and overall technique. The following season in 2012, she placed eight top-10 finishes, including six in the top 5.

"She gave herself many chances and competed again in her mid-40s with the youngsters," Park said. "And she loved it."

Johnson also said that she had sharpened her fitness focus, went to the gym three times a week for cardio work, as well as stretching exercises.

Seven years ago, she also visited an orthopedic clinic for severe tendonitis in both elbows. That visit led to the strengthening of her neck and back, which eventually eliminated her chronic pain.

"We're not young anymore, so it's hard work," Johnson said in May.

But time and considerable effort have given her a valuable perspective over the years, which she said she believed would help her win again.

"I value every event more because I know that I am closer to the end of my career than the beginning," she said. "But you never really lose your competitiveness, regardless of your age."

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