On the strength of a hole-in-one at No. 2, Brooke Henderson tied the tournament scoring record with a second-round 64 and pushed to the top of the leaderboard at -11 heading to the weekend at the Buick LPGA Shanghai. The 22-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, aced the second hole, from 144 yards with an 8-iron.
“I didn't see it at all, and then Olly (Brett), one of the caddies in our group (for Danielle Kang), turned and said, ‘That went in,’” said Henderson, who added it was her seventh career hole-in-one. “We were like "What, really!" That was pretty cool. It definitely got my day started in the right direction.”
Henderson cruised around Qizhong Garden Golf Club on Friday, tying her low round of the season thanks to that ace, seven birdies and just one bogey.
“I really like this golf course. I feel like it does suit my game really well,” said Henderson, who tied for 26th at the 2018 tournament. “You really have to stay patient and pay attention to the wind conditions. It's important to hit a lot of fairways and the greens are so large that you're doing to hit a lot of greens, but the proximity to the hole is really important.”
Americans Jessica Korda and Danielle Kang both shot 5-under 67s on Friday to sit second at -9 and third at -8, respectively, and join Henderson in Saturday’s final group. Korda, playing in her first individual event in six weeks, survived a rollercoaster opening nine that put four birdies and two bogeys on her card. Her back nine was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 13th.
Kang carded an eagle of her own on Friday, pitching in from 30 yards out on the fairway at No. 9. Kang, the defending Buick LPGA Shanghai champion, knows that she’s in a prime position heading into the last two days of competition.
“I definitely know that birdies are out there and it's a pretty tough golf course. It's not easy to shoot low,” said Kang. “There were a lot of good scores out there today and I know how well these girls can play, so I just got to keep chipping away and keep on trying to make those birdies and see what happens at the end.”
Marina Alex and first-round co-leader Amy Yang are tied for fourth at -6. Nasa Hataoka, who joined Yang atop the leaderboard after the first round, stumbled to a 1-under 73 on Friday and fell into a tie for ninth at -4.