SAMMAMISH, WASHINGTON – To say conditions were challenging for round two of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship would not be fair. Daunting might have been more like it.
Not that the 8,000 trees around the 6,600+ yards of Sahalee Country Club don’t make it a major test as it is, but cool temperatures and occasional rain also hampered play on Friday. Add in five and a half rounds and patience became a factor as well.
Despite all this Canada’s Brooke Henderson managed to hang on to a share of the lead in the LPGA’s second major championship of 2016. While she prospered, much of the field suffered.
Henderson was actually two over par for the day but with the 36-hole cut coming at +7, it still looked pretty spectacular by comparison. Her two-stroke lead is gone, but, despite a poor iron shot that led to a bogey on the last hole of the day, her score of 73 was still a solid way to back up her spectacular opening 67. She shares top spot with Mirim Lee of Korea at -2 overall.
The 18 year-old Canadian once again drove the ball in impressive fashion on Friday, she only missed three fairways all day long. She failed to convert as many putts as she did in round one (she had 33 putts versus 23 in the first round) but much of that was because she upped the number of greens she was able to hit in regulation from 10 to 13. If she can continue to hit fairways and greens through the weekend she will be well positioned to contend for her second LPGA victory, and first major championship.
“It was a pretty tough day out there,” commented Brooke after the round. “It made it very difficult at times. I hung in there pretty well. Disappointed with the missed putt on the last but overall I’m pretty happy and I’m close to the top of leaderboard.”
Henderson said she had to stay patient in the conditions and just try to hit the shirt grass and she plans to maintain that approach over the weekend.
“Just keep doing what I’m doing,” she shared. “Hitting fairways and greens is extremely important and having a good strategy for this golf course. I’m really excited to be in the position I am.”
Canada’s Alena Sharp also had a solid day on Friday. After an opening 74 she climbed up the leaderboard more than 20 spots into a share of 28th place after shooting 72.
The only other Canadian to make the cut, Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Quebec, shares 56th.