— KPMG Women's PGA Championship (@KPMGWomensPGA) June 23, 2022
The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship started smoothly for Brooke Henderson, who had a birdie on the third hole at Congressional, then reeled off three consecutive bogeys between the sixth and eighth holes on Thursday.
At two over going on to her second nine in Bethesda, Md., Henderson went bogey free the rest of the way, while adding three birdies.
After finishing with a one-under 71, Henderson is tied for sixth, seven shots behind leader In Gee Chun, who opened with a 64 and has a five-shot lead over the rest of the field going into Friday’s second round.
“Definitely wasn’t what I was looking for, three bogeys in a row on the front nine. To make three birdies on the back and kind of get back under par, any time you’re under par in a major championship, you know you’re doing something right,” said Henderson.
“So hopefully, I’ll just go out tomorrow, minimize the mistakes and make a few more birdies and, hopefully, catch In Gee because she’s on fire right now,” she added.
Henderson and her group, which also included Inbee Park and defending champ Nelly Korda, were out early at 7:33 a.m. local time on a rainy morning.
“It was very early. I’m not used to playing that early. Then, it was raining most of our front nine and the course was playing very long just with the soft conditions, and then, the rain,” said Henderson, the 2016 champion at this event.
“Coming up No. 9, that was the longest par five I’ve ever played in my life. I hit hybrid in on my third shot and I just rarely have to do that. It was just kind of adjusting to that. I’m just really happy I was able to overcome those three bogeys in a row,” she said.
“I think getting the birdie on No. 11, my first birdie on the back nine, it really kind of settled me down. I was, like, okay, now we can play smart this back nine and hopefully get it back under par, so that was a huge help. Yeah, just kind of got me to settle down and chase birdies after that,” she added.
With the weather expected to clear up as the tournament progresses, Henderson says that while it’s tempting to go hunting birdies with In Gee Chun so far ahead, she needs to maintain her patience with three rounds remaining.
“On the cart coming to the scoring, Nelly was, like, what golf course is she playing? It sort of feels like that. She’s just on fire,” said Henderson.
“Sometimes In Gee does that. Sometimes, she just plays so well and nothing bothers her and it’s really cool to see. Hopefully, I can be more like her (Friday) and make some more birdies and climb up the leaderboard,” she said.
“it definitely does motivate you, and sometimes, you can push a little too hard and be a little aggressive where in major championships, you kind of have to stick to your game plan and hit it to the smart side,” she added.
“Especially on these greens because a lot can happen with a small mistake. You kind of have to be smart on where you attack and where par is good,” said Henderson.
“There are a lot of holes left and anything can really happen, but I think we’ll have to make a few more birdies and just play smart the rest of the way,” she said.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc is tied for 30th after she opened with a 73 on Thursday.
The full leaderboard is here.
U.S. Senior Open
Alan McLean was top Canadian in Thursday’s first round of the U.S, Senior Open in Bethlehem, Pa.
McLean shot a two-over 73 that has him tied for 36th going into Friday’s second round.
Click here for the leaderboard.