One of Brooke Henderson’s goals heading into the new LPGA season was to compete more often. The Canadian got off to a good start, taking a four-stroke lead Friday in the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
Playing alongside Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, who competes in the Celebrity Division, the Smiths Falls, Ont. native birdied four from the second hole, was 9 under par at the time she got on the sixth tee and played error-free for a 6-under 66 at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida.
The other 28 LPGA pros in the winners-only field quickly went into scramble mode just so they wouldn’t lose sight of her. Henderson’s closest pursuers heading into the third round are Nelly Korda – at No. 2, the highest ranked player in the field – England’s Charley Hull and Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu. They each shot 69.
WATCH | Henderson carries the 4-stroke lead to the weekend:
Henderson was sensational early on, hitting a few corners near tight hole spots to set up two of her first birdies, and nearly made a 6-iron for the ace on the 171-yard fourth hole. Making the start even more special was playing with Sorenstam for the first time.
“I feel like I’ll remember it forever,” said Henderson, who made just one bogey in 36 holes. “Just one of those once in a lifetime opportunities. We all admire him here on tour. She’s kind and obviously a great player, and I think we can all learn a lot from her.”
Korda left after the round to work on her putt after missing several good looks on the front nine – despite having had four birdies after the 10th hole.
Hull, meanwhile, who fled the cold of England for three days of training in Morocco to prepare, said her swing was of poor quality and worked hard to produce a score below 70. A bogey three-putt on the final hole left her with a round of 69, alongside Hsu, five strokes behind Henderson.
“Obviously I played in the freeze so it bounces for miles. Our greens are thick. These greens are so fast compared to what I’m used to playing on,” Hull said. “Yeah, I thought today the Americans definitely have a huge advantage – but I love England too much to go anywhere else.”
Hsu, who arrived here winning the 2021 Pure Silk Championship, birdied six but none after the 13th hole, completing her 69 with five pars.
Tennis player and Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish has taken control among celebrities and athletes alike, posting the equivalent of a 67 in the Modified Stableford scoring system.
He has 78 points, nine points better than Lake Nona resident Sorenstam and military veteran Chad Pfeifer. Fish and Korda started their day in the dark wee hours, both rising early to watch Sebastian Korda – Nelly’s brother – win his match at the Australian Open.
WATCH | Henderson leads after the 1st lap:
Source : BBN NEWS