Sun, May 03, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Brooke Henderson leads North Texas Shootout

AP, IRVING, Texas

An egret flies by as Brooke Henderson prepares to play a shot during the second round of the North Texas Shootout in Irving on Friday.

Photo: AP

Brooke Henderson is too young for LPGA Tour membership, but she is good enough to top the leaderboard — again.

Henderson shot a six-under 65 on Friday in the North Texas Shootout, giving the 17-year-old Canadian the lead going into the weekend for the second straight week on the LPGA Tour.

Henderson had a bogey-free round to reach an eight-under 134 total at Las Colinas, a stroke ahead of 2013 winner Inbee Park and 54-year-old Juli Inkster.

Denied a waiver to the LPGA Tour’s minimum-age requirement of 18 last year, Henderson earned the last spot in the field on Tuesday in a playoff in the qualifier. Last week in California in the Swinging Skirts, she led after the second and third rounds, but fell a stroke short of a playoff that Lydia Ko won over Morgan Pressel.

“Last week definitely helped out a lot,” Henderson said. “Finishing third and having a chance to win on Sunday was a lot of fun. I’m excited to be in the same position. Hopefully, it will just turn out a little better.”

On her final hole, Henderson chipped from the rough behind the green toward the pin 20 yards away and sank a six-foot putt to maintain the lead.

“It was a bad lie in the rough, so I’ll take it,” she said.

The top-ranked Ko rallied on Friday to push her career-long cuts streak to 51, following her opening 75 with a 68 to make it on the number at one-over 143. The 18-year-old New Zealander was tied for 62nd.

Park had a 66, and Inkster shot 69. Lexi Thompson, Mi Hyang-lee, Hee Young-park and Karine Icher were tied for fourth at six-under.

Ko said she was emotional about making the cut heading into the back nine, still at four-over, because she pledged to donate her earnings this week to the earthquake relief in Nepal.

“All day, I was thinking, you know, make some birdies for the kids in Nepal,” she said. “I was going to cry after my putt.”

Park was not happy with her putting last week in California and changed clubs. The result: 27 putts on Thursday, 26 on Friday.

“If the putter doesn’t work, you’re just going to walk away with the pars,” she said. “Hopefully, this putter can stay in the bag a long time.”

After Inkster opened with a 66 to share the first-round lead, she said she really was not “looking forward to winning.”

Sitting one shot out of the lead going into Saturday, Inkster amended her position slightly.

“I’m just not counting my chickens before they hatch,” said the Solheim Cup captain and 31-time Tour winner, most recently in 2006. “I mean, I’ve got a lot of golf left.”

Michelle Wie was four strokes back at four-under after a 70. She was seven-under through 12 holes, but bogeyed three of the last four holes.

Paula Creamer withdrew after shooting par on Thursday, citing personal reasons.

The field was to be cut a second time after yesterday’s play, to the top 50 and ties.

Among Taiwanese players in the tournament, Hsu Wei-ling was the best placed in a share of 12th after hitting a 71 in her second round. Hsu was four-under for a 138 total.

Yani Tseng was one shot further back with a second-round 70, while US-based Candie Kung shot a 69 to be on 140.

Min Lee missed the cut.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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