In pursuit of defending the major championship she won last year, Brooke Henderson is off to a start that has her in the running to complete the feat.
The 19 year-old Smiths Falls, Ontario resident opened with a 68 (-3) at Olympia Fields Golf Club near Chicago on Thursday as she attempts to join a small group of players who have won back-to-back titles at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. It is a championship that dates back to 1955 and was last won in consecutive years by Inbee Park. She managed a triple takedown in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Playing alongside Alison Lee and Ariya Jutanugran in round one, Henderson fought through gusty winds to traverse the front nine in even par. She improved her position greatly on the back nine when she made birdies on 13 and 14. She closed the day with another birdie on 18, leaving her second shot just short of the green in two on the par five but managing to get up and down for the four. She holed a tricky final putt in the process.
“I played great on the back nine, three birdies, and to finish off 18 with a birdie always make the round feel a little bit better,” shared Henderson, currently the 13th ranked player in the world.
“You know, it was a tough day out there, the conditions were really tough and were either scoring really well, or I saw a lot of scores over par, so hopefully I can continue going over the next three days and see what happens.”
At the completion of the round Brooke was tied for fifth place.
Alena Sharp, the only other Canadian in the field, was over par early but worked herself back to even and is tied for 36th.
The winner’s share this week in $525,000, a long way from the $1,200 won by Beverly Hanson in 1955.
Chris Stevenson captured Brooke’s post-round interview.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @CJ_Stevenson this week as he covers the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship live from Olympia Fields.