Canadian Brooke Henderson upstaged fellow teenager and birthday girl Lydia Ko by firing a tournament record seven-under 65 on Friday to take a two-shot lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.
The 17-year-old Henderson, a long hitter who still needs sponsor exemptions to enter tournaments, reeled off six birdies and an eagle to vault to the top of the leaderboard at nine-under.
Despite playing only her 10th tournament, Henderson said she was prepared for the weekend.
“I think I’m ready,” she said. “Yeah, 17 is young. As you’ve seen with Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson and even Jessica Korda, there are a lot of great names that have been able to do it. I’m hoping that I’m one of them.”
South Korean Choi Na-yeon was alone in second place at seven-under, while Japan’s Sakura Yokomine and China’s Yueer Cindy Feng were joint third, three shots back at six-under at the Lake Merced Golf Course in San Francisco.
World No. 1 and defending champion Ko was serenaded by the galleries on her 18th birthday, but her game was off-key during an even-par 72 that left her at five-under.
“I really didn’t get anything going,” the New Zealander said. “When that happens, it’s really hard. You know, I would say the par-fives, you kind of need to take advantage of them. I didn’t position myself well in any of them, and that just makes it tough. Kind of feel like you’re already losing shots there.”
American Stacy Lewis shot a one-under-par 71 and sits five strokes off the pace at four-under.
Juli Inkster was the story of the opening round after the 54-year-old finished one shot out of the lead, but her second round 74 dropped her to two-over.
Michelle Wie endured her second consecutive over-par round, scraping out a 74 that has her five-over for the tournament and just above the cut.
Five Taiwanese players remained in the competition after the second round. The best placed was Hsu Wei-ling in a tie for 59th with a 72 to leave her on 145 overall.
Hou Yu-sang hit a 75 to be on 147, Hsieh Yu-ling had a second round of 74 to be on 148, Chen Meng-chu had a 75 for 148 and Candie Kung of the US also made 75 to leave her on 149.
Those cut were Yani Tseng, Chien Pei-yun, Min Lee, Tsai Pei-ying, Pan Yen-ling, Cheng Ssu-chia, Chen Szu-han, Yeh Hsin-ning, Babe Liu, Yu Han-hsuan, Hung Jo-hua, Kuo Ai-chen, Lin Tzu-chi and Shih Huei-ju.
Additional reporting by staff reporter
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