Tor­res in four-way share of lead at Evian women’s ma­jor


Canada’s Brooke Hen­der­son is two strokes back at the half­way mark of the Evian Cham­pi­onship, the fi­nal ma­jor of the LPGA Tour sea­son.

The 21-year-old na­tive of Smiths Falls, Ont., is tied for sixth at 6 un­der after a 2un­der 69 on Fri­day. She’s two strokes be­hind Maria Tor­res of Puerto Rico, Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea and Amer­i­cans Mo Martin and Amy Ol­son.

After two birdies in a row on Nos. 4 and 5, Hen­der­son had a bo­gey at No. 6 and a dou­ble bo­gey at No. 7. But she bounced back on the back nine with four birdies and one bo­gey.

“I feel like my game is in a re­ally good spot,” said Hen­der­son. “To be able to re­bound like that men­tally I think is re­ally key. On this golf course you got to stay pa­tient, and I feel like we were able to do that even though it’s very dif­fi­cult at times.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited for the next few days, so we’ll just see what hap­pens.”

Tour rookie Tor­res, the first Puerto Ri­can to earn an LPGA card, shot a 2-un­der 69 be­fore Ol­son (65), Martin (66) and Lee (66) matched her 8-un­der 134 to­tal.

“It’s some­thing new and it’s ex­cit­ing (to lead),” said the 23-year-old Tor­res, who is ranked No. 184. She missed the cut at 10 over in her only pre­vi­ous ma­jor, the Women’s PGA Cham­pi­onship won in July by the South Korean world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park, who won’t play this week­end.

Park (71) started and fin­ished play Fri­day at 6 over at the sun-soaked Evian Re­sort Golf Club and missed the cut by three shots.

Ol­son had seven birdies and se­cured a share of the lead with an 18-foot parsav­ing putt on the 18th.

“That was huge,” said the 26-year-old North Dakota na­tive, whose ca­reer-best fin­ish in a ma­jor is tied for ninth at the ANA In­spi­ra­tion this sea­son. “See­ing it drop, that’s a lot of con­fi­dence go­ing into to­mor­row.”

Ol­son’s work­ing week in France meant she needed a re­place­ment to bake cook­ies for the In­di­ana State lineback­ers coached by her hus­band, Grant. The Sy­camores play Satur­day at East­ern Illi­nois.

“The head coach’s wife made them for the lineback­ers this week,” Ol­son said. “She got me cov­ered.”

Lee made an ea­gle at her fi­nal hole, the par-5 ninth, to be the high­est ranked coleader, at No. 59. The South Korean’s two ca­reer LPGA wins are more than the other three com­bined, though Martin won the 2014 Women’s Bri­tish Open.

One shot back, Car­lota Ci­ganda of Spain carded 70 to fol­low a 65 that only Tor­res equaled Thurs­day.

A seven-woman group on 6 un­der in­cluded Ge­or­gia Hall (68), last month’s Women’s Bri­tish Open cham­pion, plus for­mer ma­jor win­ners Hen­der­son (69) and So Yeon Ryu (69).

Austin Ernst (70) is also two shots back, com­plet­ing her round min­utes be­fore Hur­ri­cane Florence made land­fall close to her home state South Carolina.

“I’ve checked the weather app ev­ery day and talked to my fam­ily back home,” said the Seneca na­tive. “It’s more flood­ing (risk) where I am. Let’s see what hap­pens.”

Amer­i­can ama­teur Rachel Heck, who is only 16 years old, safely made the cut at her sec­ond ma­jor. A 73 got her to 1 over.

The top-ranked Amer­i­can, world No. 5 Lexi Thomp­son, was in tears on the 18th green and missed the cut by one stroke. She swiped her club in frus­tra­tion after a scuffed chip that led to a bo­gey-5 and a round of 75. The 2014 ANA In­spi­ra­tion win­ner had also dropped a shot at the 17th.

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