Sun, Jun 18, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Brooke Henderson takes two-stroke lead at Meijer


South Korea’s Haeji Kang tees off on the eighth hole in the second round of the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Brooke Henderson on Friday bogeyed the final two holes for a four-under 67, leaving the 19-year-old Canadian with a two-stroke lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic.

Henderson had seven birdies — four in a row on holes nine through 12 — and three bogeys to reach 12-under 130 and break the 36-hole record at Blythefield. She had a one-stroke lead on Thursday after an opening 63.

Her approach on the par-four 17th rolled down a hill and she two-putted.

“Could have been really close to being a great shot,” Henderson said. “I practiced that shot in the practice rounds and it jumped forward on the first bounce there, and I don’t think I got that today. So, unfortunately, it’s a tough hole and I just came away with bogey, which is not really what I was looking for.”

On the par-four 18th, she missed the green, left her chip well short and missed the long par putt.

“I kind of let emotions get into things and I was chasing birdie to try and get it back,” Henderson said. “Unfortunately, two bogeys to finish. Hopefully, that just gives me a little bit more motivation going into tomorrow.”

Fellow major champion Lexi Thompson, coming off a playoff loss to Ariya Jutanugarn on Sunday last week in Canada, followed her opening 64 with a 68 to join last year’s runner-up, Carlota Ciganda (64), and M.J. Hur (66) at 10-under.

Thompson closed with a birdie on 18.

“I kind of peeked with about five holes to go and I think it said minus-14 was leading, and then I just saw on the last minus-12 was,” Thompson said. “But I try not to look at leaderboards, just try to focus on my own game, that’s all I can control.”

Ciganda last year lost a playoff to Kim Sei-young at Blythefield.

“I’ve been playing good,” the Spanish player said. “I’m just excited. It was a good week for me here last year so I have great memories. Yeah, I like the course. I like the greens. I think the crowds are always good, so I’m very excited.”

Henderson won twice last year, taking the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her first major, and successfully defending her title in the Cambia Portland Classic. She has a 36-hole lead for the first time since late September last year in China in the Reignwood LPGA Classic.

“It’s great to see my name up there,” she said. “It’s been a little bit of a rough season so far, you know, not getting the results that I’ve been looking for, but this week seems to be a turnaround week and, hopefully, I can just finish strong the next two days.”

Moriya Jutanugarn was nine-under after a 66.

“It was great,” Moriya Jutanugarn said. “I’ve been playing solid. I rolled the ball good on the green. Everything seems to be good.”

Feng Shanshan (70) topped the group at eight-under. The Chinese player is trying to complete a Michigan sweep after winning the LPGA Volvik Championship three weeks ago in Ann Arbor.

Ariya Jutanugarn, Moriya Jutanugarn’s younger sister, was tied for 30th at four-under in her first event as the No. 1 player in the world.

Lydia Ko, at No. 2 after an 85-week run at the top, was six-under after a 71. Michelle Wie was also six-under after her second 68.

Taiwan’s Min Lee was tied for 42nd on a three-under total of 139, while Hsu Wei-ling was in a group at 58th one stroke back.

Chien Pei-yun on a one-over total of 143, Yani Tseng on three-over 145 and Cheng Ssu-chia on four-over 146 were projected to miss the cut.

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