Friday, December 15, 2017
Golf

Canadian Henderson, 18, leads after first round of Women's PGA

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — Just three holes into her round, Brooke Henderson could tell she needed a spark.

Her fourth career hole-in-one and a new car — to be donated to her caddie sister — did more than enough.

Buoyed by the early ace and birdies on her final two holes, Henderson took the early lead Thursday in the Women's PGA Championship, the second of the LPGA Tour's five major championships.

The 18-year-old Canadian, ranked fourth in the world, had 4-under 67 on a cool day at Sahalee Country Club. Henderson aced No. 13 — her fourth hole of the day — hitting a 7-iron from 155 yards to the left side of the green. The shot caught the apron and funneled directly to the cup.

"It really helped out a lot and gave me momentum for the rest of the day," Henderson said.

Henderson birdied three of her final four holes to take a two-shot lead.

Christina Kim and I.K. Kim followed at 69. A handful of players were still on the course.

Top-ranked Lydia Ko had par 71 in a round that featured 14 pars, two birdies and two bogeys. Both of Ko's bogeys came after she missed the fairway and had to pitch out from the trees.

After seeing above-average temperatures earlier in the week that dried out the fairways and greens, players were treated to much cooler conditions Thursday with rain showers popping up in the afternoon. The cooler, wet conditions are expected to last through the weekend.

By completing her round, three-time defending champion Inbee Park, 27, became the youngest in tour history eligible for the LPGA Hall of Fame and the first since Se Ri Pak in 2007. Dealing with inflammation in the tendon and ligaments of her left thumb, Park closed with a bogey for 72.

Pak withdrew after seven holes due to an arm injury.

Two-time major winner Brittany Lincicome of Seminole shot 71.

PGA: Shawn Stefani, Tom Hoge and Seung-yul Noh shared the St. Jude Classic lead at 5-under 65 in Memphis.

Little wind and perfect though fast greens created great scoring conditions at the TPC Southwind. Some extra rough requiring tight shots also provided a good test for players preparing for next week's U.S. Open.

Hoge had a bogey-free round with five birdies in the morning group. This is only the second time Hoge has played the event, but he has qualified for the U.S. Open twice in Memphis and tied for 12th at Southwind last year.

"I don't know if it's the food or the water or what … but Memphis has been good to me," Hoge said. "Hopefully, I can keep it going."

Stefani was the lone player teeing off in the afternoon to work his way into a tie for the lead and stay there. The Texan was 5 under between Nos. 7 and 10 with an eagle at No. 9 where Stefani was just trying to avoid the water with the hole tucked left.

CHAMPIONS: Jay Don Blake birdied three of the last five holes at windy Philadelphia Cricket Club to shoot 2-under 70 and take the first-round lead in Flourtown, Pa., at the Senior Players Championship, the third of the tour's five majors. Vijay Singh bogeyed the par-4 18th to fall a stroke back along with Jeff Sluman, Brandt Jobe and Bart Bryant.

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