HENDERSON STAYS HOT AT COLUMBIA EDGEWATER
Brooke Henderson totaled nine birdies and tied a career-low by shooting a 7-under par 65 to take a two-shot lead after the first round at the Cambia Portland Classic Presented by JTBC.
The defending champion has five consecutive rounds in the 60s dating back to last year’s win and is a total of 28-under par in her professional career at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The world’s No. 2 ranked player responded to each of her bogeys today with a birdie on the hole immediately following and had a string of four consecutive birdies in her last five holes of play.
“It was a good day,” Henderson said. “You know, I started off with a birdie on the 1st hole and then nothing was really happening through the first 5, I guess. Just getting things rolling again and just being out here on this golf course in the Northwest, you know, in the beautiful temperature. I like wearing long sleeves and pants. I was able to make four birdies coming in right in a row to get to minus 7 and put myself in a good position.”
The 18-year-old ranks 10th on the LPGA Tour this season in greens in regulation (73.85%) and hit 16-of-18 greens on Thursday. Including today’s round, Henderson has made five total bogeys on this golf course in tournament play.
“I love tree-lined courses, and that’s very much what this course is,” said Henderson. “And, again, with the bent grass, which is kind of what I grew up on. I just really like it. It suits my eye. Then winning here last year, that gives me those extra vibes and extra adrenaline which I think will help as the week goes on.”
Sitting two shots back in a tie for second at 5-under par are Columbia’s Mariajo Uribe along with Americans Angela Stanford and Demi Runas. Four players are in a tie for 5th at -4.
BROOKE HENDERSON - LOWEST CAREER ROUNDS
Score Round, Tournament Finish
65 Rd. 1, 2016 Cambia Portland Classic Presented by JTBC TBD
65 Rd. 4, 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship WIN
65 Rd. 3, 2016 JTBC Founders Cup T4
65 Rd. 3, 2015 Cambia Portland Classic Presented by JTBC WIN
65 Rd. 2, 2015 Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout T13
65 Rd. 2, 2015 Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic 3
PUTTING FOR DOUGH
Both Mariajo Uribe and Angela Stanford noted the recent work they’ve been doing with the putter as being a big part of their success in the first round. Uribe played alongside Morgan Pressel last week at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and liked her aggressive technique.
“Last week I play with Morgan the first two rounds and she was leading,” said Uribe. “She putted so firm and they were going in, so that’s something I used to do when I was an amateur. You just get onto tour and you just fall into bad habits. Working on it again. This week, I mean, it worked today, so hopefully for tomorrow I have a good round and looking good for the weekend.”
Stanford is coming off of a T4 finish in Arkansas, her best result this season. Her putting stroke has been friendly to her so far on Columbia Edgewater’s poa annua greens.
“It’s nice to watch the ball go in the hole here,” Stanford said. “I haven’t always played well here, so tried to just put all that on the back burner and see if I could carry it over from last week, and it did.”
HEAD IN THE GAME
Demi Runas sits two shots back of the lead in a tie for second place after shooting an opening round 5-under par 65. Runas has posted solid results in her last two starts (T32, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G; T25, Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give) and credits working with a sports psychologist for helping keep her “present” and “centered” on the golf course.
“I get really nervous, anxious,” Runas said. “But I’ve always had that. I’ve just been a nervous player. The way that my sports psychologist and I have talked about it, it’s a good thing if you’re nervous. It means you care.”
Ranked No. 402 in the world, Runas is in her second year playing on the LPGA Tour. She has yet to finish in the top-10 in an event, but has started to feel more comfortable with a season under her belt.
“It’s a little less stressful because you’ve seen the golf courses at least once and you don’t feel like you have to be out there all the time,” said Runas. “Yeah, it definitely helps the second time around. It was a rough year last year, but I am enjoying it a little bit more this year.”
THIS COULD BE THEIR WEEK
Tour rookies Jiayi Zhou and Briana Mao are among five players tied for 9th at 3-under par after the first round. China’s Zhou (1-of-5 cuts made) and the American Mao (2-of-10 cuts made) could both be on their way to a career-best finish should they keep up their strong play this week in Portland.
“Everything is perfect today,” said Zhou, ranked No. 637 in the world. “Every shot on the green and every putt. I feel so good. I still miss some birdies.”
Mao played collegiately at the University of Virginia and had a career-best T33 finish earlier this season at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. Using a new putter, she was able to bounce back from two bogeys and one double bogey on Thursday, responding with birdies on each of the holes that followed.
“I switched putters and I feel like I have such good feel on the greens,” Mao said. “The one unfortunate double, it was kind of just a dumb one. I miss-clubbed and gave myself a bad lie. Stuff happens on the golf course.”
THAT WINNING FEELING
The Symetra Tour is in Canadian Lakes, Michigan this week for the second playing of the Tullymore Classic. That tournament’s defending champion, Daniela Iacobelli, is currently tied for fourth at the Cambia Portland Classic after firing an opening round 68.
Iacobelli, a 2015 Volvik Race for the Card graduate, is hoping she can emulate last year’s winning performance this week at Columbia Edgewater.
“Yeah, it’s fun,” Iacobelli said of her Symetra Tour victory. “I mean, I don’t want to say they’re similar courses, but I can see similarities in the shots I need, so that’s kind of fun.”