Major championship pressure, heavy rain, and even the arrival of the sitting President did not distract Brooke Henderson during the second round of the United States Women Open Championship.
Riding a wave of recent good play that has included a win and a second place finish, the Smiths Falls, Ontario product is lurking in a tie for 10th place heading into the weekend in Bedminister, New Jersey.
Henderson added a 71 (-1) to her opening 70 (-2) and at -3 overall sits five shots back of leader Shanshan Feng through 36 holes. She did so while fighting through heavy rains that threw off some players, but she kept her head down and stayed on task. In fact, she says she used the course conditions to her advantage.
“It played a lot different than it did in the practice rounds and yesterday,” said Henderson, addressing the softness of the course due to to the damp weather. “I feel like we, my sister and I, we adjusted really well to that. We attacked maybe a little bit more. We weren’t as afraid of those run-off areas as I was previous just because I knew it was holding a little bit better.”
While the weather had Brooke’s attention for much of the day, there were other disturbances that she had to work through. That included the arrival of course owner Donald Trump and the reaction of spectators to the sight of the first sitting President to watch a U.S. Women’s Open.
Instead of keeping their eyes on the group of Henderson, Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis, many fans turned to check out Trump. Having backs of fans facing her way was not an issue for Henderson.
“A lot of fans look at other groups when I’m playing,” she said with a smile. “It’s just another thing that happens. Like I said, I’m just here and I’m really excited to be playing the U.S. Women’s Open. It’s just extra and like I said, it’s a great opportunity.”
Back between the ropes, the only Canadian to make the cut (Alena Sharp and Maddie Szeryk failed to advance) is looking for make up a few strokes over the final 36 holes.
“I feel like I could have maybe got a little bit more out of today’s round than I did,” Brooke noted about her position. “Any time you are shooting under par in a major championship and putting — I’m a few shots back. Hopefully I can make that up quickly over the next two days and put myself in contention on Sunday.”
Of note, Hye-Jin Choi, the winner of the 2015 World Junior Girls Championship held at The Marshes Golf Club in Kanata, Ontario is now 17, still an amateur, and is tied for second place at -6 after consecutive rounds of 69.
Brooke Henderson Interview video by Rideau View Golf Insider Chris Stevenson: