Brooke Henderson one back after opening round in Thailand

Written by Canadian Press with files from Golf Canada
Brooke Henderson (Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

CHONBURI, Thailand – Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., is one shot back after carding seven birdies, five of which came on her first eight holes. The 20-year-old sits at 5 under for the tournament, in great position a week after missing the cut for just the 5th time in her career.

Henderson is set to give chase to the leaders with an 11:38 a.m. tee time in Friday’s second round.

“Yeah, you know, it was a really great start. Felt good, especially coming out of last week,” said Henderson. “I was happy to get a lot of birdies right out of the gate and feel comfortable again—unfortunately gave two back, but I was able to fight pretty hard on the back nine and finish at 5-under.”

A few months ago, Henderson was shovelling ice back home in Smiths Falls—she hasn’t shown any signs of trouble adjusting to the extreme heat in Thailand.

“Yeah, spending a lot time in Florida I’ve been able to learn all about grain and how to read putts like that. Coming from Canada I didn’t really know much about that, but last few years I’ve definitely learned a lot. This heat is pretty similar to Florida. Actually quite a bit hotter.”

Hamilton’s Alena Sharp opened with a 3-over 75.

Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after day one of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 for a shot lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

“I just hit the collar. I didn’t know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I’m glad it caught the hole,” Lee said.

“It’s a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that’s going to help.”

Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 U.S. LPGA Tour account last week at the Women’s Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She shot four more birdies.

“It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,” Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a rollercoaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Moriya was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

“I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,” said Moriya, who was seventh here last year.

She’s trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.

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