Henderson feeling comfortable
As the two-time defending champion, it’s no surprised that Brooke Henderson feels comfortable around the Cambia Portland Classic presented by JTBC.She already made her presence felt during Wednesday’s Pro Am, making a hole-in-one alongside LPGA legend Nancy Lopez – the last time Henderson made an ace during an LPGA tournament was the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a tournament she’d go on to win – and continued the good vibes Thursday with a 5-under-par 67.
She sits one shot back of the lead going into Friday.
Henderson was 4-under par through nine holes on Thursday and admitted she would have liked to have finished a little lower.
“I tried to make a few more birdies on the back but they just didn't fall. Hopefully tomorrow I can play a little bit better on that side,” she said. “Five-under is a great start.”
It’s been a bit of a different week as compared to last week for Henderson, as all eyes were on her just 60 minutes outside of her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. She shot a course record on Saturday at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club and got into the second-to-last group, but couldn’t get anything going Sunday at the CP Women’s Open.
Still, she notched her best finish at her home country’s national open, and then came into this week looking for a three-peat.
“I think it’s just exciting for me to know that I have that opportunity to do that,” explained Henderson. “Last year I wanted to defend really badly and that was kind of a main goal of mine. This year I would love to win again, but I know there are a lot of great players in the field this week.”
Chun looking for win No. 1
It’s been a successful year by any measure for In Gee Chun, except, of course, getting into the winner’s circle.
Chun, who has had four runner-up finishes in 2017 along with a tie for third last week in Ottawa, where she played in the final group on Sunday, was right there in the mix once again Thursday in Portland, firing a 6-under-par 66 to take the lead into Friday.
“I have not been able to win, but I think it was a strong finish (in Canada),” she said. “Just keep going. Enjoying the process. I think that thinking was making me more comfortable on the course today.”
Chun made just one bogey Thursday, but followed that up with three-straight birdies on hole No’s 4-6.
She made a solid save on No.9, her final hole of the day, to keep a hold of the early lead, prior to the afternoon wave teeing off.
“I made a really good up and down in the tough situation, on No. 9,” said Chun. “(It was) my last hole, which was great. So I’m really happy. I made a strong finish.”
Woods has great start
On a day when Cheyenne Woods’ Uncle Tiger Woods posted about the start of his return to professional golf on Twitter, Cheyenne fired her best round of the 2017 LPGA Tour season, a 5-under-par 67 at the Cambia Portland Classic, to sit just one shot back of the lead.
“I gave myself so many birdie opportunities today, so it was nice to be able to feel like I had a lot of chances for birdie,” said Woods. “Once I made the turn I started making a few putts and got the hang of the greens.”
Woods admitted she felt ‘really good’ about her day Thursday, and felt as if she left a few chances out there.
“Just a few putts within five feet that I missed,” she said. “But it felt good to finish with a birdie and head into tomorrow feeling good about my game.”
Woods has a lot of good vibes coming into this week’s event in Portland, as she finished sixth here a year ago, which was her best finish of the 2016 season.
“I played great last year. I really enjoy the course. Good vibes coming back. I've got my family out here this week as well, and I'm staying with a women who works with us at Nike Golf,” said Woods. “It's just really comfortable here in Portland and I'm enjoying it so far, so looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Lewis to donate her winnings to Houston
Prior to this week’s event in Portland getting under way, Stacy Lewis, who lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband (and University of Houston women’s golf coach) Gerrod Chadwell said she would donate 100 percent of her winnings to the flood relief efforts in her adopted hometown.
She said her home, along with her parents’ home, is fine, and will be OK when the flooding and environmental impact is all said and done. But there will be a lot of ongoing impact felt by the community, and certainly by Chadwell’s team at the University of Houston.
So Lewis decided to do something about it.
“I just saw different people doing things with birdies and all that. I just, I don't know, wanted to do something that was going to make a difference,” said Lewis. “I just said, ‘why not?’”
Lewis started her week at the Cambia Portland Classic with a 2-under-par 70. She’s just four shots off the lead held by In Gee Chun.Lewis will keep the pedal down going through the next three rounds to try to earn as much money as she can. But in the interim, she admitted there had been an outpouring of support.
“Everybody said ‘it's really cool what you're doing. It's just really cool that you're taking the time to do it and putting it out there,’” said Lewis. “There are not a lot of people that would do that.”
LaCrosse fires best round of the season
Although Cindy LaCrosse hasn’t had the best of seasons on the LPGA Tour so far, you wouldn’t know it after a bogey-free 67 on Thursday in Portland, her round of the year so far.
aCrosse, whose best finish of 2017 was a tie for 36th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, was 4-under par on the front nine and 1-under on the back nine. She sits just one shot back of the lead held by In Gee Chun.
“There (are) a lot of holes left. But I'm glad to be here. I mean, it's nice to not have to play catch-up… after one day,” said LaCrosse. “Just a really nice start, and I'll see what else I can do.”
LaCrosse got a lesson from her coach this past weekend, Justin Sheehan, and pointed to that discussion as a key for her success on Thursday.
“I was really trying hard on each shot to kind of do what my coach… told me to do last week. Really helped me to focus on one shot at a time,” she said, admitting her swing gets a little ‘vertical and long’ so she’s been trying to correct that by getting more round.
“I just try and feel that and trust that, and if I do it well, it’ll be OK.”