Hen­der­son shoots tour­ney record for LPGA lead

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

Brooke Hen­der­son has no photo on the LPGA Tour’s web­site and has to rely on spon­sor ex­emp­tions to get into tour­na­ments af­ter be­ing de­nied an age waiver to even play at Q-school.

The 17-year-old Canadian fid­dles with her ear­rings be­tween shots, purses her lips and anx­iously watches each ball, then po­litely re­sponds and makes eye con­tact when some­one in the gallery en­gages her with a com­pli­ment.

For one day at least, Hen­der­son is the new 17-year-old with se­ri­ous swag­ger in women’s golf.

She shot a tour­na­ment-record 7-un­der 65 on Fri­day to take the sec­ond-round lead in the Swing­ing Skirts LPGA Clas­sic.

That round put her at 9 un­der at Lake Merced Golf Club, where world No. 1 and de­fend­ing cham­pion Ly­dia Ko shot an even-par 72 to re­main 5 un­der af­ter tak­ing the first-round lead Thurs­day.

Na Yeon Choi was two strokes back at 7-un­der 137 af­ter a 68. The 27-year-old South Korean ea­gled the par-5, 475-yard 14th and had three birdies on her front nine.

Yueer Cindy Feng of China and Ja­pan’s Sakura Yokomine stood tied for third place at 6 un­der.

As Ko cel­e­brated her 18th birth­day, she cleared the way for a new teen star to shine.

The long- driv­ing Hen­der­son ea­gled the 14th, hit­ting a 3-wood ap­proach and mak­ing a 15-foot putt. She also had six birdies.

Hen­der­son — who last year tied for 10th in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine­hurst then turned pro in De­cem­ber — reg­u­larly hears how she is fear­less and goes for it on shots when oth­ers might be more con­ser­va­tive, and that ap­proach sure worked for her in the tricky con­di­tions at Lake Merced.

Not that she has nec­es­sar­ily no­ticed any ex­tra hype.

Cad­die Bunk Lee

in­sists they didn’t even know she had jumped to the top of the leader­board in just her 10th ca­reer LPGA Tour event. Though Hen­der­son grabbed a few glances at the leader­board “here and there.”

She and her older sis­ter, Brit­tany, tied for sec­ond place in last month’s Florida’s Nat­u­ral Char­ity Clas­sic, a Symetra Tour event that earned them each US$10,038 pay­days.

In many ways, Hen­der­son ap­pears to be a vet­eran un­fazed by golf’s big stage.

While she wasn’t par­tic­u­larly happy with her golf that left her tied for fifth, Ko was ser­e­naded with “Happy Birth­day” and pre­sented with a cake, and she cov­ered her face briefly in em­bar­rass­ment. Some 300 peo­ple fol­lowed her group in the gallery for parts of the round.

Ko, who opened with a 67, drew an early tee time and had evening din­ner plans to cel­e­brate with friends. She re­ceived a new iPhone from her mother and her peers quickly told her she “up­graded.”

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