HISTORY ON THE LINE FOR BROOKE HENDERSON
Brooke Henderson started the third round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give with a three-stroke lead over her nearest competitor and with only two players within six strokes of her lead. By the time she stepped to the 16th tee, it had all evaporated, as Henderson found herself in a four-way tie for the lead at -16 with Lexi Thompson, Annie Park and Brittany Altomare. At even-par on her round through 15 holes, Henderson wasn’t necessarily playing poorly. She’d just plain been caught, with Thompson having finished a lights-out 10-under 62 six groups ahead and her fellow competitors Park and Altomare both sitting several strokes under par.
“I kind of found it hard to find my rhythm during the middle part of the round,” said Henderson. “I kind of got started batting third and that's never a good sign.”
On that 16th hole, everything changed for Henderson. A 5-foot birdie got her started on No. 16 and she followed that up with another birdie at No. 17. A third birdie, this one from inside 3 feet, at No. 18 capped a remarkable final three holes for the 21-year-old Canadian, who pulled two strokes clear of the field heading into Sunday’s final round.
“It was a little bit up and down, but to finish with those three birdies was really nice,” said Henderson, who won the 2019 LOTTE Championship in April. “Kind of made my round feel a little bit better. Just happy. I feel like I'm hitting the ball well and giving myself a lot of great looks, which is exciting.”
If Henderson takes the win tomorrow, she could rewrite the Canadian golf history books. A win would be her ninth, moving her one clear of Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson as the winningest Canadian golfer on the LPGA or PGA Tours. But as to be expected, Henderson is not looking past the task ahead of her.
“Of course that's in the back of your mind, but it's long from over,” said Henderson. “There's so many great players close to the top of the leaderboard. And this course, you know there's a lot of birdies out there, so it's going to take a low score. So hopefully I can just continue to hit good shots and give myself a chance for the win.”
LEXI THOMPSON’S JUST GETTING WARMED UP
Just one week after her win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, Lexi Thompson finds herself again in contention heading into the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. The 2015 champion at Blythefield Country Club started the round 10 strokes behind Brooke Henderson in a tie for 19th but Thompson took advantage of the many birdie opportunities today in her third-round 62.
“There's a lot of birdies out there,” said Thompson, who had 10 birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the day. “You can fire at a lot more pins just because of how soft it is playing. But the rough is up pretty thick, so you just have to keep it in the fairways and you know you can have birdie chances.”
It’s been feast or famine in Thompson’s last six starts, with a win, three other top-three finishes and two missed cuts in that stretch. Today’s success? It all started with a good warm-up routine.
“I had a good warm up on the range, felt good about my game,” said Thompson. “You know, the last two days I haven't struck it to my capability and what I've been working on in my game, but today, it kind of all fell together. I had a good warm up and just felt good and came out relaxed and started off with a birdie and from there it just kind of went.”
ANNIE PARKS HOPES TO BE CHASED IN FINAL ROUND
Annie Park has missed five cuts in her last six starts, even failing to defend her title at last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, where she became a Rolex First-Time winner in 2018. This week, she enters the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic just two strokes behind Brooke Henderson’s lead.
“I woke up early this morning just to finish the last hole. Made a birdie and it was a great start,” said Park, who arrived early on Saturday morning to finish the final hole of her second round. “Our group did try to finish [on Friday], but it was getting dark and we were like, ‘We’ll just come back tomorrow.’ I already made my eagle putt on 17 and I was like, ‘maybe I should play in the dark more often’ because I went birdie, eagle, birdie,”
Starting the day off with that closing second-round birdie on No. 9, Park continued play on Saturday carding seven birdies en route to her third-round 65.
“Overall it's been good with shots, short game, putting,” said Park, who made 25 putts on Saturday. “Hopefully I can keep that momentum going on for tomorrow and maybe some more birdies would be great. Can't wait. I like the position of chasing the leader, but hopefully tomorrow at one point, I could end up with maybe being chased, so we'll see.”
With a win…
Brooke Henderson would earn her ninth career LPGA Tour victory and become the winningest Canadian golfer in the history of the LPGA and PGA Tours; she is currently tied with Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson with eight victories
With the $300,000 winner’s check, Henderson would move to $5,765,641 in career earnings and jump from No. 57 to No. 48 on the Career Money List
Henderson or Lexi Thompson would become the first multiple winner of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Henderson won in 2017 and Thompson won in 2015
Annie Park would earn her second career LPGA Tour victory
With the $300,000 winner’s check, Park would move to $1,227,466 in career earnings and become the 263rd player to cross the $1 million threshold
Lexi Thompson would earn her 11th career LPGA Tour victory and move into a tie for 43rd on the All-Time Wins list, joining Clifford Ann Creed, Fay Crocker, Shirley Englehorn, Jane Geddes, Ruth Jessen and Stacy Lewis
Thompson would win her second consecutive tournament, joining last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; the last player to win in consecutive weeks was Shanshan Feng, who won the 2017 TOTO Japan Classic and 2017 Blue Bay LPGA
Thompson would have her fourth multiple-win season, joining 2013, 2015 and 2017
Brittany Altomare would become the season’s fourth Rolex First-Time Winner, joining Celine Boutier, Bronte Law and Jeongeun Lee6
Rolex Rankings No. 8 Brooke Henderson (64-64-69)
- Henderson’s 197 is the lowest 54-hole score of her career and the lowest in championship history; she shot 197 in her 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic victory, but the final two rounds were shortened to par 69 due to flooding
- She hit nine of 13 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Henderson is in her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she is an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour and is tied with Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson for the most victories by a Canadian player in LPGA and PGA Tour history
- This is Henderson’s 13th event of the 2019 season; she has six top-10 finishes this season, including a win at the 2019 LOTTE Championship
- She is competing in her fourth Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; she tied for 44th in 2018, won in 2017 and tied for 21st in 2016
Rolex Rankings No. 47 Annie Park (69-65-65)
- Park’s 199 is the second-lowest 54-hole score of her career; she shot 197 in her 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic victory
- Her second- and third-round 65s are tied for the third-lowest rounds of her career; she shot 63s in the final rounds of the 2016 and 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic, returned a 64 in the first round of the 2016 Evian Championship and shot 65 in the second round of the 2018 Kingsmill Championship
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- Park is in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer and has five other top-10 finishes
- This is Park’s 12th event of the 2019 season; she has one top-5 finish this season, including a tie for third place finish at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open
- She is competing in her fourth Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; she tied for 71st in 2016 and missed the cut in 2017 and 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lexi Thompson (70-68-62)
- Thompson’s third-round 62 is the second-lowest round of her LPGA Tour career; she shot a 61 in the second round of the 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
- She hit seven of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 24 putts
- Thompson is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour; she has 11 victories, most recently at last week’s 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, and has a seven-year winning streak (2013-19), the longest active streak on Tour
- This is Thompson’s 11 event of the 2019 season; she won the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer and has four other top-10 finishes, including a tie for second at the U.S. Women’s Open
- She is competing in her sixth Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; she won in 2015 and has top-10 finishes in 2016, 2017 and 2018
Rolex Rankings No. 54 Brittany Altomare (66-65-69)
- Altomare’s 200 is tied for the lowest 54-hole score of her career; she shot 200 at the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G
- She hit eight of 13 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Altomare is in her sixth season on the LPGA Tour; her career-best finish is second at the 2017 Evian Championship and the 2018 Buick LPGA Shanghai
- This is Altomare’s 12th event of the 2019 season; her best finish was a tie for 12th at the LOTTE Championship
- She is competing in her fourth Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; she missed the cut in 2018, tied for 48th in 2017 and finished 75th in 2016
- Round 2 resumed at 7:30 a.m. and Round 3 started at 9:30 a.m. with 82 players making the cut