Brooke Henderson in position to make a weekend run at Aronimink
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – Brooke Henderson is looking to continue some late-season momentum into the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and through two rounds she’s right in the mix for another major championship title.
Henderson, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, shot a 1-under 69 Friday. She’s even par for the Championship heading into the weekend and was just three shots back of the lead through mid-afternoon.
The 23-year-old took 35 putts in her opening round, but had a much better day on the greens Friday. It was a bit of a roller-coaster day – Henderson made five birdies but had four bogeys as well – but overall she said she was pleased with her position going into the weekend.
“It's nice to be in a good spot. I feel like today I played the course a little bit better than yesterday, understood where the misses and everything were on each hole, so that was nice,” said Henderson.
Henderson, who is the winningest Canadian of all time on the LPGA (or PGA) Tour, felt she was able to get some of her nerves out of the way early with a birdie on the par-4 2nd. The bogeys, she said, came at some inopportune times, like on No. 18.
“Hopefully I got all the bogeys out of the way today and we’ll be better tomorrow,” said Henderson with a laugh.
Henderson, who finished T2 at the ANA Inspiration and followed that up with a T6 last week in New Jersey, kept coming back to how her approach for the next two rounds would be wrapped in patience.
She said Aronimink was a “very difficult” golf course, but if she thinks her way around the Donald Ross layout, she’ll be in a good spot on the leaderboard the rest of the week.
Henderson said after Thursday’s 1-over 71 her and Brittany (her sister and caddie) refined their plan on a couple of the holes. She said her plan Friday was similar to Thursday but she ended up hitting more greens and fairways on Thursday. Her putter, however, was more reliable on Friday.
“The greens are so big, and sometimes you can't really chase a lot of pins, so for me I feel like I'm patient a lot of time and just hitting it to the middle of the green,” said Henderson. “I feel like every major championship there's a lot of those shots, so I definitely feel like there are a lot today that I would have liked to have back. But at the same time I feel like I did a good job of when I did make a mistake bouncing right back and getting a birdie, which was really nice.
“I feel like I keep saying it, but just patience and just trust that the plan is working and hopefully just make a few more birdies tomorrow.”
For the first two rounds at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Henderson was grouped with 2019 winner Hannah Green (who shot a 4-under 66 on Friday) and 2017 winner Danielle Kang – who beat Henderson by one to capture her first major championship.
Kang is 3-under through two rounds and was tied for the lead Friday afternoon. She also won two events in a row after the LPGA Tour returned from its COVID-19 break.
Henderson said, given how difficult Aronimink is, she stayed mostly focused on her own game. But given the success of her playing partners, it was a “fun” day for the trio.
“The three of us were just kind of feeding off each a other a little bit,” said Henderson, “And it’s nice to have that type of group.”