REGINA, Sask. – Brooke Henderson has fans in Canada, and it’s not just the young girls who are dressing like her this week.
“She’s like Canada’s Tiger Woods,” said world no.1 Sung Hyun Park, who played with the native of Smiths Falls, Ont. for the first two rounds of the CP Women’s Open.
“She’s like an idol here,” said Angel Yin, who played three groups ahead of Henderson.
The 20-year-old is off to her best-ever start at her national championship. She’s 12-under par through two rounds after back-to-back 66’s. Friday’s round included just one bogey, and she started the day chipping in for birdie.
Henderson started on the back nine and four birdies in her first six holes. She added three more birdies on the front nine including one on the par-5 9th to end her day.
Park shot an 8-under-par 64 to tie the course record at Wascana Country Club, while the group’s third, Anna Nordqvist, was 7-under through nine holes after knocking a wedge in for eagle on the par-5 14th.
Henderson said she fed off the group’s energy all day.
“Today everybody was going low, so you kind of feel like you need to make birdie or you're falling behind and that's kind of a good feeling,” she said. “Sometimes it pushes you in the right direction.”
The wind played a major factor in her round Friday, Henderson said. It was blowing much stronger – with gusts up to 35 miles per hour – than it had been earlier in the week.
She said her and her caddie, Brittany, were able to manage themselves around the course well.
“I hit the ball in good spots and made birdie putts when I had them, and I feel like I made the most of today's round, which is always a great feeling,” she said.
Henderson has struggled at times this season with her putter. She’s 54th in Putting Average on the LPGA Tour – as compared to 7th in Driving Distance and 3rd in Greens in Regulation – but has had the same putter in her bag for almost three months.
She’s found something she’s comfortable with, and told LPGA.com she has a lot of confidence this week – especially after she came into the week after her round of the season Sunday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.
“It’s always amazing when you can depend on that club,” she said of her putter. “But I think overall, everything is kind of going really well. I'm hitting the ball in good spots and then I'm making putts when I have birdie opportunities. I think overall, my game is in a good spot.”
Henderson’s group had the largest following of fans as the Canadian faithful were decked out in the country’s unofficial colours on Red and White Day at the CP Women’s Open.
She said playing in front of her home country’s fans has buoyed her confidence through the first two rounds.
“It's a lot of fun, especially when you're playing well,” she said. “You love when you're walking down the fairway and you hear your name and you know that they're all there behind you. I would say it's definitely a lot easier to play in front of them when you're playing really well, so hopefully I keep it up.”
Henderson is just one shot back of the lead held by Amy Yang.
Two other Canadians made the cut including Anne-Catherine Tanguay and Alena Sharp, who made three birdies on her back nine.