The first round of the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give resumed at 7:30 a.m. Friday, after a seven-hour rain delay on Thursday pushed back the day’s tee times. Starting on the inward nine, Brooke Henderson finished her Thursday play with a hole-in-one at No. 15 and walked off the course at -4 with 12 holes to play. The 21-year-old Canadian, who won the 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic, picked right up where she left off on Friday morning, carding four more birdies for a bogey-free 8-under 64 and the top spot on the leaderboard heading to the second round.
“(It was) sort of crazy teeing off so late yesterday but got off to a great start, had two birdies and a hole in one, which is pretty sweet,” said Henderson, who won the 2019 LOTTE Championship in May. “Just having the fans out here early cheering us on, it's such a great atmosphere here at Meijer. I'm just happy that I'm playing well and hopefully do that over the weekend.”
Ashleigh Buhai returned her own bogey-free round to sit in second at -7. The 30-year-old South African, who said she was “super chuffed” with the round, opened with consecutive birdies at Nos. 18 and 1 (having starting on the inward nine) to shoot a 65 and tie the lowest round of her LPGA Tour career.
“I'm very comfortable with the way I'm swinging the golf club. I'm trusting it,” said Buhai, whose best LPGA finish is second at the 2017 Thornberry Creek Classic, where she shot a 65 in the third round. “I'm driving the ball well, and the greens were obviously a little bit truer this morning, too, so I rolled in a few longer putts. I nearly got a long one on 18 there; well, the ninth hole. Yeah, just got to stay patient and know when to go at it and know when to keep away from it.”
Brittany Altomare, Jenny Shin and Katherine Perry finished at 6-under 66 and are tied for third.
Defending Meijer LPGA Classic champion So Yeon Ryu opened her title defense with a 3-under 69 and is tied for 30th. The first round saw three holes-in-one on No. 15 – Henderson and Mariajo Uribe, both on Thursday afternoon, and Haru Nomura on Friday morning.