The Cambia Portland Classic stands as a landmark in Brooke Henderson’s career. Her first LPGA Tour victory in Portland two years ago launched her into full-time status.
Since then, her resume includes four tour wins, including last year’s event in Portland, where she successfully defended. It was so nice, she won it twice and Thursday, she sent a message that she may not be done with winning in Portland.
Henderson had just one bogey in posting a five-under 67 that left her one shot off the lead going into Friday’s second round of the 2017 edition.
“I think it’s just exciting for me to know that I have that opportunity to do that. Last year, I wanted to defend really badly and that was kind of a main goal of mine,” she said.
“This year, I would love to win again, but I know there are a lot of great players in the field this week and I will have to shoot minus five or better every single day,” added Henderson, who spent much of the day in a tie for first.
“I would’ve liked to finish a little bit lower today. I was four under through the front nine and things were going really well,” she added.
“I tried to make a few more birdies on the back, but they just didn’t fall. Hopefully, (Friday), I can play a little bit better on that side,” said Henderson.
Included in her birdies was one on the par four ninth, on which she successfully got an up and down from a fairway bunker with a 157-yard, seven iron shot.
“That bunker shot in the fairway on No. 9 really saved my whole round and I am really grateful for that, really happy, and hopefully (Friday) can just play well again,” she said.
Alena Sharp shot a three-under 69 and is tied for 18th.
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Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., and Anne-Catherine Tanguay each shot one-under 70s in the first round of the Sioux Falls GreatLife Challenge in Sioux Falls, S.D., where they’re tied for 24th going into Friday’s second round.
That leaderboard is here.