Brooke Henderson admits she’s recovering from last week’s major
It was quite the run for Canadian Brooke Henderson last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as she made a run at back-to-back KPMG titles.
Although three shots back with three holes to play, Henderson birdied her final two holes and was briefly tied with Danielle Kang for the lead before Kang birdied her 72nd hole and eventually won the title.
But while Kang was off this week, Henderson was back in the field at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, and fired a 1-under-par 71 Thursday.
Henderson admitted last week took a lot out of her being in contention until the bitter end and it ‘drained a lot of energy.’ She said she won’t be practicing as much this week but will be trying her best to stay sharp on course prior to next week’s U.S. Women’s Open.
She explained last week was filled with moments that will only make her stronger moving forward.
“I think that's every golfer's dream is to be able to make those clutch shots and clutch putts when it really counts, and I take that as a compliment, and hopefully over the next few weeks when those moments arise, I can capitalize once again,” she said.
Suzann Pettersen turning things around
Although multi-time LPGA Tour winner Suzann Pettersen has been one of the best in the world at her craft for years, even she goes through down times.
“Last week was a struggle. Very frustrating first part of the week, just trying to find something. It's easy to stand on the range and you work on certain stuff and then you take it to the course, the feels you worked on so you can trust it. But it got better, and by the time Sunday came around, it was there to be taken, and from my point, just didn't put together a good score,” she admitted.
Thursday in Green Bay, however, Pettersen turned things around nicely with a 4-under-par 68, with just one bogey. She sits just three shots back of the lead held by Sei Young Kim and Laura Gonzalez Escallon. Pettersen explained there is still a lot of work to be done over the next three days, and she knows she’ll have to go even lower to contend.
“The first time I saw (the golf course), I'm like, ‘well, you've got to bring your diving gear because you've got to go deep around this place.’ I mean, I just shot 4-under and feel like I shot 100. I missed a lot of putts today. I'm hitting it good, though,” she said. “The golf course is great. I think it's great to see a golf course that kind of invites birdies and low scores.”
Brooke Pancake looking for her best finish of the year
Brooke Pancake’s best result of 2017 has been only a tie for 37th, however, this week, she’s off to a tremendous start.
Her 5-under-par 67 has her just two shots back of the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. The 67 tied for her best round of the year.
“I was putting really well. Gave myself a lot of opportunities. I wouldn't say I was hitting it great off the tee but I kind of made up for it on the greens,” Pancake said of her round.
Pancake said Thursday she was ‘definitely’ looking for a great run this week and is eager to get back out on the course Friday.
“I love this golf course,” she stated. “I'm excited to play the next few days. It kind of reminds me of being back home.”
Alena Sharp sets record with five-birdie streak
On a day when birdies in bunches were happening all over the course, it was Canadian Alena Sharp who notched a record run, making five-in-a-row on the front nine, from the par-4 4th to the par-3 8th before finally making a par on the par-5 9th.
Sharp, who admitted she wasn’t sure if she had ever made five birdies in a row before, made it sound like it was a pretty simple process all day Thursday. Her 5-under-par 67 has her just two shots back of the lead.
“It was just like hit the green, make a putt, hit the green, make a putt. It was kind of nice,” she said. “I didn't really think too much. I just had nice pace on the putts, and they went in, and it was nice to see them go in.”
Sharp said she hit the same club into each of the holes during her birdie run except for the par three, finessing her 9-iron to the hole on each approach which were between 125 and 133 yards.
“For a while all my putts were inside 12 feet. I had some food pace, and a couple of them I lipped in. It was just like, ‘OK, today is my day,’” she said.
The Canadian admitted she struggled last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, putting and chipping well but not hitting the ball well.
“I worked hard the last few days and it’s nice to see the hard work already showing,” she explained. “I hit shots way closer to the pin today than I did all last week. I think it's nice to get that kind of confidence going for next week, and just go out tomorrow and do what I did today, and same thing Saturday and Sunday.”
Rookie Madeliene Sheils taking advantage of coach’s good advice
After a week off last week – after playing seven-in-a-row – LPGA Tour rookie Madeliene Sheils, who is just one shot back of the lead after Thursday, translated some sage advice from her coach into a great score during the opening round in Wisconsin.
“As soon as I like rested and refreshed myself, it was like, ‘oh my gosh, I can do this, like I'm okay.’ I saw my coach, and I felt positive going into this whole week,” she stated.
Her coach, Gabriel Hjerstedt, helped her with some mechanical tuning last week, admitting she was a little off with her swing, her chipping and her putting.
“I just tweaked a few things in every part of my game, and all of sudden I’m OK again,” she explained. “I finally feel comfortable in my rookie year, and now I feel very comfortable with my game so it’s nice to see them both come together.”