With eighteen holes to play Brooke Henderson is the in the position every professional golfer is looking for, the lead. The young Canadian is chasing her seventh career victory on the LPGA Tour and made another step towards that on Saturday by posting a third round 69 (-2) at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I.
While she had a clean round on Friday, with no bogeys on the card, Saturday’s tour of the Highland Meadows Golf Club was a more sporadic affair, with more blemishes on the card and just twelve greens hit in regulation. That was compared to the relative stroll that she had in round two when she missed just one putting surface in the expected number.
In the end the number that matters is the 202 (-11) total so far (67,66,69) for Brooke, one better than her nearest competitors for this week’s title, Brittany Lincicome and Angela Stanford.
That said, she knew the round was a little untidy, by her standards.
“I would have liked to play a little better today, but I’m happy to still be in the top spot and hopefully make a lot of birdies tomorrow,” she recounted after her round, adding. “It’s just up-and-down. I made some birdies but I made some bogies. I didn’t hit it how I normally hit it, so I kind of grinded it out as best I could, and that’s good. That’s a good sign when you can still shoot under par and not hit it very well.”
While a seventh victory is in her sights Brooke know the tournament is far from over with so many players still contending. There are fourteen players at eight under par or better. It has her attention.
“It’s pretty crazy to look at that leaderboard”,” Henderson noted when asked about the logjam at the top. “It’s all jammed up. But it’s a fun position, and you’ve just got to go out there and play your own game. You can’t really worry about it. There are going to be people that shoot minus-7, minus-8 probably. So I have to go out and match that or better it.”
To do that she feels she will have to get her ball-striking back into the form it was to begin the week, an improvement on what she displayed in round three.
“You know, similar to the first two days, just try and hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, and hopefully my putter’s hot tomorrow.”
And the score she will need? Brooke understands that another two under par round might not be enough to return the winner’s circle for the second time this season. She predicted, “It’s going to take a really good score. Lot of people shot minus-6, minus-5 today. So I would imagine something close to that tomorrow would do the job.”
The two other Canadians in the field will have some room for improvement on Sunday. Orangeville, Ontario’s Brittany Marchand is tied for 30th while Alena Sharp has a share of 58th place.