Brooke Henderson Makes a Move
In golf vernacular, Saturday is known as moving day.
And after a course-record 8-under-par 63, Brooke Henderson could sum up her day with just two words.
“I moved,” she said with her trademark smile.
Henderson, who is a member at Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club but said she never keeps score when she plays the course so doesn’t know if she’s ever shot this low before, went bogey-free on Saturday, and birdied her final two holes to shoot 63, tying her lowest-ever score on the LPGA Tour and setting the course record in the process.
“It was just like the perfect day,” explained Henderson. “I hit the ball extremely well. Mentally I was right on. I felt in the zone, as a lot of athletes call it. I felt like I was in the best place of mind for me to play my best. That's always a great feeling. Shots I was hitting them close and making putts and making a lot of birdies. I guess, eight birdies today. On 18 holes of golf, that's pretty good.”
She moved into a tie for second early Saturday, before the leaders teed off for their third rounds. But the crowds were already buzzing after Henderson’s record-setting morning, which featured a couple of clutch par saves, and – unlike her first two days – a lot of putts made from all over.
“I think everything was going right today. I hit the ball really well. I made a lot of putts and that was really key for me,” she said.
Henderson couldn’t speak more highly of the hometown crowds, which came out in droves to support her as she beat the previous course record of 64 (set by Yani Tseng at the 2008 CP Women’s Open).
“Coming up 18 I kind of just took a peek around and I didn't see any green grass outside of the ropes. Everybody was everywhere,” said Henderson. “It's such an incredible feeling. Being so close to home makes this week so much more special.”
Lincicome compares CP Women’s Open to major
For a long time, the CP Women’s Open was a major on the LPGA Tour’s schedule.
It’s no longer classified as such, but according to Brittany Lincicome, it might as well be.
“This one is very special,” said Lincicome. “This one in my opinion is almost a major just because the purse is really big, the fans are really great. What they do for us and what the tournament does for us is incredible.”
Lincicome, who won the 2011 CP Women’s Open, said ‘everything’ about this event makes it seem major-like.
“It's always pristine, the fairways are great, the rough's great, the bunkers are great, everything about it,” she said. “It's unfortunate that Solheim was last week and I know Lexi (Thompson) didn't come and a couple girls didn't come, but it's definitely a spot on the schedule that nobody misses really.”
Lincicome shot an even-par 71 Thursday. She bounced back from a double-bogey on the par-4 6th with three-straight birdies on No’s 6 through 9. She admitted he was a little fatigued as she comes to the end of a long two weeks. She said she’s looking forward to heading home next week.
“My caddie kind of hinted that she looked like my swing was a little fatigued or maybe I was tired today because I was not driving it as well. And we weren't doing as many things as we had been doing the last two days as well,” said Lincicome. “I just tried to kind of shorten the swing a little bit. She said it was getting a little long and I was kind of swaying a little bit instead of staying in my posture. So hopefully one more night's rest. We just need one more good round.”
Larsen enjoying Gustafson’s guidance
It’s week one for five-time LPGA Tour winner Sophie Gustafason acting as Nicole Broch Larsen’s caddie, but given their success so far, don’t think it will be the last.
“She's a big help. Obviously she has a lot of experience,” said Larsen. “We're playing this game three holes at a time, trying to make one, maybe two birdies in those three holes and give ourselves a set goal to give ourselves two birdie chances inside (15 feet) on the next three holes. That's really working for me, so it's really nice.”
Gustafason is taking a break from Beth Allen, and texted Larsen to ask if she wanted her help this week. “I haven't really found a caddie this year that's got what I've looked for. So I said, ‘why not.’ She has so much experience,” said Larsen. “I think we quite look like each other when we're playing on the course. I think she has the temper I have too, and she knows how to handle it. It's been really fun so far.”
Larsen, who was the 2015 LET Player of the Year, finished at 5-under-par 66 Saturday and shares the lead with Mo Martin heading into Sunday’s final round.
In Gee Chun joins Larsen and Martin in the final group of the day.
Martin credits pizza for her success
In, perhaps, a rare admission, it was a weekly pizza party hosted by Brittany Linicome’s caddie Missy Pedersen, that helped Mo Martin move into a tie for the lead Saturday at the CP Women’s Open.
The 12-person pizza party on Friday night – which has a waiting list according to Lincicome, because ‘it’s so delicious’ – was a special gathering of players and caddies, and Martin said the pizza last night – pepperoni and mushroom for her – was a good thing for today.
“It definitely helped. I felt good when I woke up. Felt good going to bed,” said Martin. “I don't eat a lot of pizza, but I'll take Missy's any day when I do eat it.”
Martin made six birdies Saturday (including three two-hole stretches where she made them back-to-back), against just two bogeys. It was her second-straight day of shooting a 4-under-par 67, despite the fact that she admitted there was no ‘really easy’ hole at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club.
“There is nothing you can take for granted. That's a sign of the Open, you know? Any Open. You've got to be on your game every hole,” she said. “It's a great set-up. It's beautiful. We've had great weather. The fans are really supportive. A lot of well-wishes even starting from the first tee, so it's very nice.”
Altomore’s big day
Brittany Altomore stepped up to the microphone after her 1-under-par 69 and said, after being paired with Brooke Henderson after her record-setting Saturday, that she was more nervous then, than she was on the golf course.
“This is the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of, and I just think it's a really good experience. I had a lot of fun,” she said.
Altomore’s season has been a solid one. She sits 65th on the Race to the CME Globe, and has missed only five cuts.
But usually the crowds aren’t as big at 8 a.m. on a Saturday as they were during the third round at the CP Women’s Open.
“I struggled a little bit on the front there, but I played really well on the back. The crowds here are amazing, and I know they were cheering for Brooke the whole way, but I really felt welcomed and feeding off the crowd was really fun,” she explained.
Altomore had played with Henderson ‘a few times’ in 2017, and she was someone she enjoyed playing with – albeit, this is the first time they’ve played together on her home turf.
“She’s just really fun to be out there with,” she explained.
Altomore will be paired with Candie Kung and Jenny Shin on Sunday.