Brooke Henderson is well underway in defending her title at the CP Women’s Open after shooting a 6-under 66 on Thursday. That put the Canadian golfer right be Annie Park, and with seven birdies in the opening round, Henderson is position well to battle for the lead going into round two.
Henderson, who is 21, showed strength in her tee shots and reliability in her strokes, and it was those same capabilities that the Smith Falls, Ontario did last year. Commenting on the first round and her comfortability at Magna Golf Club, Henderson said,
“It’s nice to be in a position where I had a good round, everything seemed to go right for me. Hopefully I can continue to stick to my gameplan, make a lot of birdies, and I would love to be in this position on Sunday.”
Annie Park, who as the day progressed, hoped to set a career-high, made history at the CP Open when she shot 7-under 65 to take the lead. Speaking on Brooke Henderson, Park, who is ranked 42nd, stated in post-round interviews,
“Brooke is a phenomenal player and not only that, she’s a great person. She’s such a sweetheart. I can see why the fans love her. I was focused on my own game out there and tried to play my best.”
Park was not the only player to catch up to Henderson. That pack included Jin Young Ko, Canada’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay, Pajaree Anannarukarn and Nicole Broch Larsen. The conditions were favourable with players being met by a light breeze in the morning.
Henderson, who has defended titles successfully twice in her golfing career, is perfectly suited for the course at Magna Golf Club as it features wide fairways that allow the powerful hitter to drive the ball far down the fairway. Henderson is ranked ninth in the LGPA based on average driving distance spoke about her style of play stating,
“For me when I’m playing well, it’s my ball striking, hitting a lot fairways, greens, and then just hoping I’m making some putts too”
Going into the opening round, the Canadian said she was calm even though the block area was lined with fans wanting to catch a glimpse of the star. She gave them exactly what they hoped for with a long drive that put her in position for her first of seven birdies. The only hole she ran into problems with was the 4th when her tee shot landed in a bunker. That her saw giving up one shot and settling for a bogey. Commenting, Henderson said,
“I just tried to keep things really simple. When I showed up this morning it was really cold and windy and I was like, ‘Uh oh.’ But in the back of my head it was also sort of like Sunday last year, so I figured it might not be a bad thing.”
In 2018, Henderson became the first women in Canada in 45 years to win the CP Open when it was held at the Wascana Country Club. Her aggressive play tactics were key in that win however, the winds at the Magna Golf Club are more challenging, and she will need to use caution if she hopes to defend her title. While that may see her face some challenges, bookmakers such as 888Sport still favour the Henderson, and for punters looking to place bets on the CP Open, her experience could pay off.
Round two will get underway on Friday morning with round three playing out on Saturday before the leaders will head into the final round on Sunday. Hopefully, Henderson, who has nine career victories with the LPGA, will be among those.