Brooke Henderson is in the hunt for her second LPGA win of the season. This time on the other side of the world.
The World’s 12th ranked player took a share of the lead after the first round of the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open while most of those on her home country were fast asleep.
The 20 year-old turned in a very tidy 65 (-7) over the new Windross Farm Golf Course located 35 minutes south of Auckland. Her day included eight birdies and just one bogey and put her in a share of the lead with Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
It was a welcome beginning to the week for Henderson who finished in a tie for 58th in her most recent appearance, at the Evian Championship.
“I got off to a great start,” Henderson shared with a smile. “I was 2-under through three holes. I had one bogey on the day but was able to bounce back with five birdies in my last 10 holes. It was a great start for me and exactly what I was looking for to get on top of the leaderboard early.”
With an early tee time and calm conditions Henderson made the best of the day, one where 49 players turned in under par scores, but none better than hers.
She realized that it was best to get her work in early as rain and increasing winds are predicted for the rest of the week in Auckland.
“If the winds pick up it is going to be a completely different golf course. I was fortunate this morning that the winds were calm and the greens were holding more than the last few days, and I knew I could take advantage. To shoot minus seven on a golf course that didn’t think completely suited my game is really exciting. My fast start really set-up my round and gave me a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence.”
Henderson and Shadoff will carry a one stroke lead into round two over Belen Mozo and Amy Boulden.
Four other Canadians are in the field. Maude-Aimee Leblanc is next best after Henderson in a share of 20th after an opening 70 (-2).
Alena Sharp is tied for 50th at even par, one inside the projected cut line.
Lorie Kane posted a 74 (+2) while Jennifer Ha struggled to a 78 (+6).