Sunday, April 26, 2015

Canadian Scot Brooke Henderson still leading Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic


Seventeen-year-old Canadian Brooke Mackenzie Henderson - who has Scottish ancestors - tamed a fierce Northern California wind on Saturday for an even-par 72 to take a one-shot lead after the first three rounds at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. 

Henderson, pictured, could become only the third player ever to win on the LPGA Tour before her 18th birthday. She also could become the first Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour since Lorie Kane won the 2001 LPGA Takefuji
“It was a great day out there. It was really tough conditions, and I was able to play really well,” Henderson said. “Couple times my short game needed to bail me out, and it was able to do that, especially the first 16 holes.”
Henderson’s lead could have been even larger if it weren’t for back-to-back bogeys on the last two.
“If someone told me at the beginning of the week I would be leading going into the final round, I would’ve taken it,” Henderson said emphatically.
Trailing Henderson by just one shot at 8-under are Morgan Pressel (5-under 67) and Min Seo Kwak (3-under 69), who were the only two players in the field to shoot below 70 on Saturrday. Both will join Henderson in the final group on Sunday. 
Ironically, Pressel herself knows a bit about the position Henderson finds herself in after Pressel won a major championship at the age of 18. And 18-year-old Lydia Ko, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour and world No. 1, will be in the group ahead of Henderson, just three shots back of the lead.
“They know they can do it. They step up to that tee and there is no fear,” Pressel said.
 “I mean, look at how strongly Brooke played yesterday and today. As you play out here more and more, I think sometimes the younger than you are the more naïve you are to all the pressure and everything else that goes with it"
Ko, the defending champ here, sits in solo fourth, three shots back of the lead, and looking for her seventh career LPGA victory two days after she turned 18. Four of Ko’s six LPGA Tour victories have been come-from-behind victories on Sunday
Stacy Lewis, the runner-up here last year, and Shanshan Feng are both four shots back at 5-under-par.
On a day when the averageLake Merced score was almost two and a half strokes over par (74.555), Morgan Pressel was able to put together an impressive 5-under round of 67 to jump from a tie for 13th into a tie for second. Pressel’s fellow players certainly took notice.
“That was really impressive,” said Stacy Lewis. “That score today is playing some golf.”
The 67 was the lowest round of the day by two strokes and was one of only two rounds in the 60s.
“I wouldn’t say it was the absolute very best I could’ve played, but I certainly kept control of the golf ball in the wind,” Pressel admitted. “It was a different golf course, but I think that Rock (her caddie) and I handled it well, kind of adjusting our game plan when we needed to.  I was very, very solid with the putter today as well.”
The round is another example of how Pressel’s game appears to be moving in the right direction after a swing change.
“I’ve really, really worked hard,” Pressel admitted. “I’ve been very diligent on the range.  A lot of it has to do with my tempo so I can get into the right place."