The McDonald's LPGA Championship was fighting a lot. First there was the year-old Ben Wright incident. Then there was rain. And mud. And fog. And finally wind and cold.
Fortunately it had Laura Davies to get the focus back to golf.Using her bruising power and her delicate putting touch, Davies shot a near-perfect 1-under-par 70 on Sunday - the lowest round of the cold, windswept day - to win the LPGA Championship for the second time in three years.
"This is the best round of golf I've ever played in the last round of a major tournament," Davies said after her 54-hole total of even-par 213 gave her a one-stroke victory over Julie Piers. "Not to make a bogey under these conditions is incredible."
The conditions were absolutely brutal for the final round of a major championship.
Play started at 7:30 a.m. when players bundled in stocking caps, earmuffs, gloves and wind shirts resumed Saturday's rain-delayed second round in wind that gusted to 35 mph and put the wind chill as low as 28 degrees.
"It was survival out there," said Piers. "It's a tough golf course anyway, but with the rain it was twice as tough, and with the wind it was three times as tough."
No one could really make a run at the course in the difficult weather conditions. Only Davies, Piers, Penny Hammel - who tied for third with Jane Crafter, two strokes back - and Michelle Dobek broke the par of 71, and no one shot lower than Davies' final-round 70. The average final round was 76.1.
In all, nine players had or shared the lead in the final round, and twice six players were tied as the weather made it impossible for anyone to break from the pack.
Davies' even-par total of 213 for 54-holes at the DuPont Country Club was the first time a women's major championship was won with a score par or above since Hollis Stacy won the 1984 U.S. Open at 2-over.
This tournament desperately wanted to put behind it the distractions of last year when Wright made the comments about lesbians and women golfers in general that eventually cost him his commentator spot with CBS.
But first it had to deal with the anniversary factor. Then there was the weather, which washed out the first round on Thursday and made this the only major championship - men's or women's - shortened to 54 holes.