It was déjà vu all over again for Canadian superstar Brooke Henderson. The 21-year-old showed no signs of stress from all the pressure put on her as the defending CP Women’s Open champion, shooting a first-round 66 to sit one stroke behind first-round leader Annie Park.
“Knowing I was capable of winning this event after having done it last year I just think gave me a lot of confidence,” said Henderson, who also shot a first-round 66 in 2018. “Made me more comfortable in front of these crowds. Just knowing that I've done it before I think just gave me a little, just relaxed me a little bit. Made me a little bit more calm. I think that's key when I'm playing well.”
Henderson returned a steady round of seven birdies and one bogey on Thursday, much to the thrill of the Canadian throngs that followed her around Magna Golf Club. She stuffed her approach on No. 18 to 6 feet and walked up to the green soaking in the thunderous applause from the fans ringing the green.
“To have this many people out on Thursday morning is pretty special. They're cheering for me bright and early, so that's pretty cool,” said Henderson. “To get a solid round like this in in front of them I think is really a confidence booster for me; gives me a lot of momentum going into the next three days.”
Should Henderson successfully defend her title on Sunday, she would become the third player to defend a CP Women’s Open victory, joining Lydia Ko (2012, 2013) and Pat Bradley (1985, 1986). She has already won back-to-back tournament titles twice in her career, taking wins at the 2018 and 2019 LOTTE Championship and the 2015 and 2016 Cambia Portland Classic.
HOT ROUND FOR TANGUAY
A bogey-free 6-under 66 on Thursday put Anne-Catherine Tanguay into a tie for second heading into the second round of the CP Women’s Open. That round, tied for the best of her LPGA Tour career, was fueled by a red-hot second nine that saw the 28-year-old Quebecer card five birdies.
“I built some momentum early in the round. The greens I felt like I was having a hard time like picking up the speed early on in my round,” said Tanguay, who came to Magna Golf Club fresh off a four-week competitive break. “But then the back nine just felt like I couldn't miss with my putter, to be honest. It was really good. I was over the ball and I just kind of had this feeling it might go in, so just give to a shot.”
Tanguay is looking for a breakthrough moment on the LPGA Tour. Her rookie year of 2016 was followed by a 2017 spent primarily on the Symetra Tour, where she won the Garden City Charity Classic and had five other top-10 finishes. Despite playing a full LPGA schedule in 2018, Tanguay placed 124th on the Money List and was forced to compete in the inaugural LPGA Q-Series, where she tied for eighth to secure a full card again for 2019.
NO. 1 KO ONE SHOT BACK IN CANADA
After two weeks off from LPGA Tour play, World No. 1 Jin Young Ko showed no signs of rust in Thursday’s opening round of the CP Women’s Open. Despite not seeing the back nine of Magna Golf Club prior to the first round, the two-time 2019 major champion hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and fired a bogey-free 66.
Ko’s caddie David Brooker arrived in Canada late Wednesday evening, so Ko had him scout out the course on Thursday morning. Ko said their trusting caddie-player relationship was key to her first-round success. “We had trust, and that's why I play really good today,” she said.
Ko is making her first start since winning The Evian Championship and then finishing T3 at the AIG Women’s British Open, but she didn’t take too much time off as she flew straight from England to Korea to play in the Jeju Samdasoo Masters tournament. Ko finished T13 in the rain-shortened KLPGA event before taking a week off.
“After that I rest a week with my family and my dog, and then I met my friend a little bit and then I practice and then I came here on Saturday,” said Ko. “I practiced at the range. My feeling was really amateur. Oh, my God. I needed to practice a lot. So on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I practiced hard.”
Ko, a notorious Brooks Koepka fan, was asked after her round about the infamous ESPN Body Issue photo circling the Internet. “I saw,” she said with a red face and a coy smile. “Someone tag me… I clicked, who is that? It was Brooks.”
#CPHASHEART BENEFITS SICKKIDS FOUNDATION
Since CP assumed title sponsorship in 2014, the CP Women’s Open has raised $8.5 million in support of children’s heart health.
The 2019 tournament benefits SickKids Foundation, which raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children, a pediatric teaching hospital in Toronto. The foundation is Canada’s largest funder of child health research, learning and care. The funds raised at the 2019 CP Women’s Open will help SickKids updated a Cardiac Operating Unit at the hospital. Additionally, a donation will be made to the Southlake Regional Health Centre.
Perhaps the most visible charitable portion of the tournament is the Birdies for Heart program. For each birdie made at the par-3 17th hole, CP will donate $5,000 to SickKids. Thursday saw 11 birdies at No. 17, which translates to $55,000 donated to SickKids.
For more information, visit cpwomensopen.com/charity-information/
USA SOLHEIM CUP POINTS STANDINGS SCENARIOS
Five players can play their way into the top eight of the Team USA Solheim Cup points standings with a strong finish at the CP Women’s Open. The top eight players in the points standings after the conclusion of the CP Women’s Open will automatically qualify for Team USA, with two additional spots determined by the Rolex Rankings and two wild-card picks selected by Captain Juli Inkster.
- Brittany Altomare, eighth with 257.5 points, has the most chances with many combinations.
- Ally McDonald, ninth with 250 points, needs a 17th or better finish to have a chance.
- Cristie Kerr must win and have Altomare finish fifth or worse. If Kerr wins and Altomare finishes fourth, the tiebreaker would be the Rolex Rankings.
- Angel Yin needs to win, have McDonald finish fifth or worse and have Altomare finish 10th or worse. If Yin wins and Altomare finishes ninth, the tiebreaker would be Rolex Rankings.
- Stacy Lewis needs to win, have McDonald finish 13th or worse and have Altomare finish 18th or worse. If Lewis wins and Altomare finishes 17th, the tiebreaker would be Rolex Rankings.
After the first round, Altomare is tied for 46th, McDonald is tied for 30th, Kerr is tied for 125th, Yin is tied for 16th and Lewis is tied for 30th.
Rolex Rankings No. 42 Annie Park (65)
- Park’s first-round 65 is tied for the third-best round of her LPGA Tour career; she twice shot 63 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, has two 64s and two other 65s
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- This is Park’s fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic
- This is Park’s 20th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for third at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open and has three top-10 finishes
- She is competing in her fourth CP Women’s Open; her best finish is a tie for 51st in 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 121 Pajaree Anannarukarn (66)
- Anannarukarn’s first-round 66 is tied for the best round of her LPGA Tour career; she previously shot a 66 in the second round of the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Anannarukarn is a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie
- This is Anannarukarn’s 14th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for 12th at the LOTTE Championship
- She is competing in her first CP Women’s Open
Rolex Rankings No. 173 Nicole Broch Larsen (66)
- Broch Larsen’s first-round 66 is tied for the third-best round of her LPGA Tour career; she has two 64s, three 65s and two other 66s, including in the third round of the 2017 CP Women’s Open
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Broch Larsen is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; her best finish is a tie for third at the CP Women’s Open
- This is Broch Larsen’s 16th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for 10th at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- She is competing in her third CP Women’s Open; she tied for third in 2017 and missed the cut in 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko (66)
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Ko is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she has five career victories, including the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, 2019 ANA Inspiration and 2019 Evian Championship
- This is Ko’s 17th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she is the only three-time winner of the season, taking victories at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, ANA Inspiration and Evian Championship
- She is competing in her second CP Women’s Open; she tied for 23rd in 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 317 Anne-Catherine Tanguay (66)
- Tanguay’s first-round 66 is tied for the best round of her LPGA Tour career; she previously shot a 66 in the first round of the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open
- Tanguay has had LPGA Tour status since 2016, but spent 2017 primarily on the Symetra Tour; her best finish is a tie for 11th at the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic
- This is Tanguay’s 14th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her best finish is a tie for 11th at the ShopRite LPGA Classic
- She is competing in her fifth CP Women’s Open; her best finish is a tie for 46th in 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Brooke Henderson (66)
- Henderson’s first-round 66 is tied for her best opening round at the CP Women’s Open; she also shot a first-round 66 en route to victory in 2018
- This is Henderson’s fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she has nine career victories, which is the most of any Canadian professional golfer on the PGA and LPGA Tours
- This is Henderson’s 20th event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she has wins at the LOTTE Championship and the Meijer LPGA Classic, and has six other top-10 finishes
- She is competing in her eighth CP Women’s Open; she won in 2018, becoming the second Canadian winner in championship history
Muni He, Haru Nomura and Lee-Anne Pace all withdrew, citing back injuries