Henderson shoots tourney record for LPGA lead
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.”