It’s often said that a single shot can make a big difference in golf. That was the case Friday for Brooke Henderson as one hybrid shot, in this case a second shot approach into the par 5, 18th hole at Olympia Fields, turned her day day around.
Henderson, looking to defend the KPMG Women’s PGA title she picked up at age 18, had 197 yards left into the 18th green (her 9th hole of the day) during round two. Just as she envisioned it, she landed the ball on the front of the green and rolled it up to nine feet from the hole.
She went from one over par to one under par in short time and gave her momentum that helped her also go under par on her back nine.
Instead of even par 71, thanks to the eagle she carded a 69 and put herself that much closer to the lead heading into the weekend at this major championship.
Her 68-69 start (-5) has her sharing 8th place, just two strokes behind leaders Danielle Kang and Sei Young Kim.
It was impressive play by the Canadian who had to adjust to changing course conditions after heavy rains softened the course, and a corresponding delay messed with the minds of the world’s best female golfers.
“It was a lot different than it was yesterday,” Henderson commented on the course conditions. “The balls are holding. No wind; I couldn’t carry some bunkers today with my driver. The fairways were holding, as well, and the greens slowed down, like you said. It was a different golf course out there today.”
Even so, one advantage on Friday was the absence of the wind gusts and, for Brooke, the presence of a putter that was heating up – reminiscent of her win in Michigan just two weeks ago.
“It was nice not having the wind swirling around all the time, and like you said, I made a lot of putts to keep myself in it today. Then made one or two putts when I really needed it to get me under par. So great day overall.”
With most of the top players in the field, and several contending. Henderson recognizes that her position with 36 holes left to play is a pretty good one as she chases her fifth LPGA victory and second major championship.
“It’s been a great last two days. I would have liked to have seen one or two of those putts fall on 8 and 9 there, but I gave myself great opportunities, and that’s all you can do around here,” she assessed. “So hopefully my putter stays hot and keeps me in it over the next two days, and hopefully I have a chance on Sunday.”
Henderson’s fellow Canadian Olympic Teammate, Alena Sharp, is also still in pursuit of the title. The Hamilton, Ontario native sits at even par (71-71) and is tied for 41st.