The Chicagoland area rolled out the ready carpet for their northern neighbours on Thursday during the opening round of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
No less than three Canadians are contending after round one at Kemper Lakes Golf Club with Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario leading the charge at this major championship.
The 20 year-old Olympian got the tournament off to a precarious start with two bogies but she had a finish to remember. Starting on the back side of the course she made a birdie on her 9th hole of the day and proceeded to add six more in the next nine holes to finish at 67 (-5) and share second place overall. She trails only 2017 CP Women’s Open Champion Sung Hyun Park who is at -6.
“…my front nine was a little bit rough, but I was happy to get a lot of birdies on the back nine and get myself back into it,” said Henderson of the spectacular turnaround on he day. “It was a lot of fun. I just feel like I was hitting the ball great and making a lot of putts, so hopefully waking up early tomorrow morning and getting the next round started, it’ll carry on.”
Brooke gave the nod to sister and caddy Brittany for helping turn the day around.
“You know, I was just trying to have a really good, solid score today, and with starting the first two holes like that, it kind of dropped your momentum a little bit, but Brit helped me through it a little bit, and we just started grinding away on my front nine, then slowly things started to turn around, started to hit it a little bit better, was able to roll in a putt on my ninth hole right there, and then I felt like from here on in, something good could happen, and I started to hit it really close and was able to make a few putts.”
Henderson, who won this championship in 2016 and just missed a spot in the playoff last year, feels that her extra length off the tee is a big advantage this week on the brawny layout that was soaked by rain earlier in the week.
“I feel like that was really beneficial. None of the par-5s I can really get to in two, but there’s some long par-4s out here, and having a few shorter clubs than my competitors I feel like is a big advantage, and I can take some bunkers out of play, too, which makes the fairway a lot wider, which is a good thing.”
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 29, 2018
Joining Henderson in the top ten is another Canadian long-knocker. Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke fashioned a round of four under par 68, and she shares 6th place. Her round included six birdies as she averaged nearly 280 yards on her tee shots.
Filling out the top ten is Alena Sharp. Coming off a recent coaching change, the veteran turned in a 69 (-3) early to jump up the leaderboard. She shares tenth place headed into round two alongside Minjee Lee, Amy Olson, So Yeon Ryu, and last week’s winner, Nasa Hataoka.
Further down the leaderboard, but still under par, is Orangeville, Ontario’s Brittany Marchand. While she shares 32nd after a round of -1, the day still brought a least one big highlight. She made an ace on the 17th hole to win a 2019 Kia Sorento.
— LPGA (@LPGA) June 29, 2018
Only one Canadian is below the projected cutline of even par. Anne-Catherine Tanguay shares 120th place afer a round of +4.