After taking the lead at the Portland Cambia Classic in the first round on Thursday, Brooke Henderson is determined not to let it go at an event she won last year by a remarkable eight shots, but it briefly looked like she might as her second round wound down.
After firing a seven-under 65 to take a two-shot lead after the first round on Thursday, Henderson was four back when she began Friday’s play after Suzann Pettersen put up a 65 to put her at 11 under after two rounds.
Through most of her second round, Henderson seemed up to the task of erasing that deficit, going bogey free through 16 holes with four birdies, all on par fives, that left her tied with Pettersen until her one hiccup on the day, a bogey on her second-last hole.
Yet, on the par four 18th, Henderson came right back with another birdie, thanks to a knock-down six iron, a second shot that she originally wasn’t planning to make.
“It was 145 to the front and I was trying to hit it just over that,” she said.
“At first, I thought there was no way I could go for the green. I was just thinking about laying up before the water, but then, I knew that was a hard shot, so I kind of re-looked at it and saw if I could get it over the front right apron and just give myself a putt, that would be good. Turned out really well,” she added.
Her 68 on Friday sends Henderson into the weekend tied with Pettersen at 11 under, one shot up on Mariajo Uribe, who is four up on the next closest competitors.
“Along with Morgan Pressel, (Pettersen) was one that I really looked up to growing up and kind of wanted to be like, definitely cool knowing I’m playing with her every single day out here on tour and we just happen to be paired together (Saturday),“ said Henderson.
“I gave myself a lot of opportunities. I would say almost 18 holes. I know the par fives were really good to me. I got all four of those and a good birdie on 18 there. I just didn’t hit the ball as well as I would’ve liked, but hopefully, that’ll change going into (Saturday),” she added.
On Friday, she hit eight of 14 fairways, one less than her first round, and 12 greens in regulation compared to 16 on Thursday.
“I just didn’t hit the ball as solidly as I’m used to. On this course, you kind of need to hit fairways and you need to hit greens. For the way I struck the ball, I scored extremely well,” said Henderson.
“Hopefully, I’ll just hit the ball a little bit cleaner, a little bit more solid (Saturday) and hopefully get things to happen,” she added.
“There is still two days left and anything can happen, but I like where I’m sitting. Hopefully. I’ll just make some putts, make some birdies and see how it goes,” said Henderson.
Amateur Naomi Ko of Victoria made the cut and is tied for 62nd at one over after two rounds, as is Hamilton’s Alena Sharp.
The leaderboard is here.