Thirteen-time LPGA Tour winner Brooke Henderson helped herself to a round in the red on day one at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, firing a 4-under 67 with five birdies and one bogey on the scorecard. It’s her lowest first-round score since her wire-to-wire victory at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions – Henderson also opened with 67 that week – and it’s her lowest round since her 67 in the second round of The Chevron Championship. The 25-year-old only found 5 of 14 fairways on Thursday, and while she was proud of her ability to score under those circumstances as the rough at Baltusrol Golf Club is pretty gnarly, Henderson is hoping the big stick flies a little straighter on Friday.
“Everything was working pretty well. I would like to hit a few more fairways tomorrow, but when I needed to, I was able to get up-and-down a few times and the putter was rolling, and it's nice to make five birdies out on this golf course. Hopefully just do something similar over the next few days,” said Henderson, who hit 15 of 18 greens in round one. “I was able to make those birdie putts that seemed to rub the edge the last few weeks. It was nice to get a solid round in on Thursday, and hopefully just three solid rounds to finish out the week.”
Frustrating has been the word of Henderson’s season. After the win at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, the Canadian just hasn’t been able to put it all together, missing two cuts and only finding the top 15 once in her last ten starts. But Henderson has grinned and borne it, trying to glean as many positives from each of the rough weeks as she can, making today taste even sweeter and feel like a breath of fresh air in what’s been a fairly stale season so far, by Henderson’s standards anyway.
“I knew I needed to get the game rolling, so I don't normally play five weeks in a row, but this is five for me just because I knew I needed to get the game in shape. Been just trying to work with my dad and my sister and just trying to get the game a little bit sharper,” said the two-time major champion. “(Baltusrol’s Lower Course) is a really tricky golf course so it is nice to get a round in solid and underneath par. I feel like you've just got to take it shot by shot and just kind of play your way around this course and try to be smart and aggressive when you can.”