BROCH LARSEN SURGES TO TOP OF LEADERBOARD AT CP WOMEN’S OPEN; HENDERSON TRAILS BY THREE
In 2017, Nicole Broch Larsen tied for the 54-hole lead at the CP Women’s Open and ultimately tied for third. Two years later and the 26-year-old from Hillerod, Denmark, is again atop a Canadian leaderboard, shooting a 6-under 66 on Friday to lead the CP Women’s Open at -12. She holds a one-stroke advantage over Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko and a three-stroke lead over Canadian favorite and defending champion Brooke Henderson, Yu Liu and Pajaree Anannarukarn.
Broch Larsen started the second round one stroke off the lead. Her rollercoaster round featured eight birdies to two bogeys, but it was enough to pull her into the lead for just the second time in her three-year LPGA career.
“I probably hit a couple more bad shots today but got away with them,” said Broch Larsen, who has yet to win on the LPGA Tour but has one victory on the Ladies European Tour. “I, on the other hand, made a really good putts and made it from just short of the green on 1 and made like an 18 meter (putt) on 2. So, I mean, making putts like that helps.”
Broch Larsen was an LPGA rookie when she lost that lead at the 2017 CP Women’s Open with a final-round 71 after three rounds in the 60s. She says she has grown so much since that week in Ottawa and hopes to use that experience as she moves into the weekend.
“I feel like I'm more confident in this position now than I was two years ago even though I haven't been here for a while,” said Broch Larsen, who has just eight top-20 finishes since the 2017 CP Women’s Open. “I'm just trying to play as free as possible the last four events and see if I can make it to Asia. Whatever the next few days brings, I'm still really happy with my two rounds.”
First-round leader Annie Park struggled on Friday, shooting a 4-over 76 and falling into a tie for 38th at -3.
KO JUST ONE STROKE OFF LEAD
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko is quietly nipping at leader Nicole Broch Larsen’s heels, just one stroke off the lead and looking for her fourth win of 2019. Ko is bogey-free through 36 holes, carding a 67 on Friday after finding 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
“I had a great round the first two days, and then also I had great putting,” said Ko, who was heading to Niagara Falls for some sightseeing after her round. “I had great shots on the front nine and back nine, too. I was happy.”
If Ko takes the win on Sunday, she would be the LPGA Tour’s first four-time winner in a single season since Lydia Ko took four wins in 2016.
DEFENDING CHAMP HENDERSON STILL IN THE MIX
Canadian fans came out to Magna Golf Club in droves for a second straight day, all hoping for a glimpse of superstar Brooke Henderson. The 2018 CP Women’s Open champion followed up a first-round 66 with a bogey-free, 3-under 69 on Friday and was soaking up the support from her red and white compatriots.
“It's pretty special to have all these people out there following you around and cheering you on,” Henderson said. “Try to be interacting with them a little bit. Also just trying to make sure I get the job done and play well the next two days.”
With windier afternoon conditions on Friday in Ontario, Henderson struggled a bit off the tee only hitting 8 of 14 fairways, compared to 12 on Thursday.
“If the wind stays up like this I think it's definitely a factor,” Henderson said of Magna Golf Club. “I think you just got to make sure you're hitting it in the right places off the tee, the correct side of the fairways and then the correct side or correct places on the green to make it easier on yourself. I feel I have a good strategy for around here. I think if we can just judge the wind a little bit better tomorrow maybe I can post another low round.”
ALTOMARE, OLSON MAKING SOLHEIM CUP RUNS
For the Americans in the CP Women’s Open field, there is a second trophy of sorts up for grabs at Magna Golf Club. The top eight players in the USA Solheim Cup points standings after Sunday’s conclusion of play 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.
The competition for the eighth spot on the USA Solheim Cup points list is down to three players – Brittany Altomare, Ally McDonald and Angel Yin. Altomare holds the final spot by 7.5 points over McDonald, 40.5 points over Yin and 52.5 points over Lewis. Altomare and Yin are tied for seventh at -7 heading into the weekend, with McDonald tied for 59th (-1).
“It would be everything I've dreamed of,” said Altomare, who holed out for eagle at both 12 and 14 on Friday. “I was fortunate enough to play on the Junior Solheim Cup team when was in high school and that was incredible. I can't even imagine what it would be like as a professional.”
Amy Olson is one of several players who could earn one of the Rolex Rankings berths with a win at Magna. Heading into the weekend in solo sixth at -8, she is the highest American in the field, one stroke ahead of Altomare and Yin.
“I would love to play Solheim. That was the dream growing up as a kid, so it's in the back of my mind for sure,” said Olson. “But at the same time, Juli has a lot of really great (players), and I don't even know what I have to do in order to make the Rolex, make it through Rolex points. I'm kind of just playing my game, and however it pans out, it pans out. Either way I'll be cheering for the USA.”
USA SOLHEIM CUP POINTS STANDINGS SCENARIOS
Three 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.
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.
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.
MINOR ADJUSTMENTS KEY FOR YU LIU
Yu Liu opened the 2019 CP Women’s Open with a bogey on the first hole. However, since that stumble, she has played bogey-free golf and rocketed up the leaderboard with rounds of 68-67 to head to the weekend just three shots off the lead.
Liu, who describes herself as a very technical golfer, said she went to the range after her first round to watch videos of her swing and make a slight tweak to her swing plane to straighten out her driver. Her hard work paid off as she improved from nine fairways hit during the first round to 12 of 14 on Friday.
“It was pretty solid compared to yesterday,” Liu said on Friday at Magna Golf Club. “Yesterday I wasn't hitting a lot of fairways, to be honest. Today was just fairways and I hit plenty of greens. It was pretty windy coming in, which made the front nine really tough. It's really gusty. It's hard to judge the club selection sometimes, but I think I did pretty good. Stayed patient.”
Liu is in her second year on the LPGA and has five top-10 finishes this season, including a runner-up finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and a T5 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I improved a lot this year from last year,” said Liu, who recorded three top-10 finishes as a rookie. “I had a pretty nice rookie season, but I knew this year I just really want to achieve something higher. So, yeah, I worked pretty hard this off-season. Just nice to see my work paying off.”
Liu said her goal before the season was to finish in the top 25 on the season money list, entering this week’s event in Canada she is 23rd on the 2019 LPGA Money List with $618,047 earned.
#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. Friday saw 16 birdies at No. 17, which translates to $80,000 donated to SickKids. The Thursday donation was $55,000 off 11 birdies.
ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS PROJECTIONS
Rolex Rankings World No. 1 Sung Hyun Park is the only player with a mathematical chance to overtake No. 1 Jin Young Ko based on her finish at the CP Women’s Open. Park must win and have Ko finish solo third or worse, or she must finish solo second and have Ko finish solo 25th or worse. There may be additional possibilities with tie scenarios and separate projection scenarios would be run to check. After the second round, Ko is second and Park is tied for 45th.
In the race for the top-ranked American, only Nelly Korda can pass Lexi Thompson. Korda, who is currently No. 10, must win and have Thompson, who is currently No. 3, finish solo fourth or worse. After the second round, Thompson is tied for 38th and Korda is tied for 15th.
Rolex Rankings No. 173 Nicole Broch Larsen (66-66)
Broch Larsen’s 132 is the best 36-hole score of her LPGA Tour career; her previous best was 135 at the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the 2015 Evian Championship
This is the second time that Broch Larsen has held the lead following any round, joining the third round of the 2017 CP Women’s Open
She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 26 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 (66-67)
Ko’s 133 is the second-best 36-hole score of her LPGA Tour career, behind the 131s she shot at the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the 2018 Indy Women in Tech Championship
She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens, with 31 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