The last time Brooke Henderson made a hole-in-one at an LPGA event she went on to win the Tournament. Perhaps a little foreshadowing of what’s to come this weekend?
Henderson recorded her fifth career hole in one during the pro-am on Wednesday alongside none other than Nancy Lopez, the only player who has won the Cambia Portland Classic three times – a feat Henderson is hoping to match this week.
“I think it's just exciting for me to know that I have that opportunity to do that. Last year I wanted to defend really badly and that was kind of a main goal of mine,” Henderson said. “This year I would love to win again, but I know there are a lot of great players in the field this week and I will have to shoot minus-5 or better every single day.”
Henderson last made a hole-in-one during Tournament competition at the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship where she went on to win her first major championship.
A coincidence? We’ll find out Sunday.
Thursday, the back-to-back defending champion positioned herself for a third consecutive win. Henderson opened with a five-under par, 67 to sit one back of In Gee Chun, who took the early lead on day one with a 66. Nasa Hataoka, Moriya Jutanugarn and Cindy Lacrosse are also one-back of Chun, who is making her debut in Portland.
“Before coming here everyone said course is really good, I agreed. You know, I like big trees. It's amazing,” Chun said after her round. “And green is very consistent and really good condition.”
Chun and Henderson started their day on the back nine and both were pleased to end their round unscathed at the par four, ninth, where Chun managed to save par and Henderson made birdie.
“Made really good up and down in the tough situation, No. 9. My last hole was great, so I'm really happy. I made strong finish,” said Chun.
“That bunker shot in the fairway on No. 9 really saved my whole round and I am really grateful for that, really happy, and hopefully tomorrow I can just play well again,” said Henderson, who got up and down from the fairway bunker with a 7-iron from 157 yards.
Mo Martin withdrew prior to the start of her round due to injury.
The opening round of the 2017 Cambia Portland Classic is underway. Click here for current scores.