• Henderson off to hot start at Meijer Classic

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    Brooke Henderson of Canada hits her tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club on Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. AFP PHOTO

    GRAND RAPIDS, United States: Brooke Henderson shot a bogey-free eight-under 63, her lowest round of the season, to take a one-shot lead atop a crowded leaderboard at the LPGA Tour’s Meijer Classic on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

    The 19-year-old Canadian is searching for her first win of 2017 and she has a slim lead after the first round of the $2-million event at the Blythefield Country Club.

    She delivered an eagle and six birdies, in a performance that comes on the back of a tie for 11th in her last outing at the Manulife LPGA Classic.

    “I felt like today was going to be a really good day,” she said.

    “Everything was just kind of going my way. I was hitting the ball really well and some putts were dropping, which is kind of a change from the last few weeks. It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to the next three days.”

    But the pack is in hot pursuit, with nine players within two shots of Henderson.

    China’s Feng Shanshan, American Lexi Thompson and Henderson’s Canadian counterpart Jennifer Ha are among six golfers tied for second after shooting 64.

    New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Feng Simin of China and Swede Madelene Sagstrom one shot further back.

    Henderson’s form comes as she prepares to defend her title in a couple of weeks at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

    She said Thursday’s round is a confidence booster.

    “I feel like my game is in a really good place,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the next three days and hopefully I can continue the strong play.”

    Thompson, who started on the back nine, is coming off a playoff loss last week at the Manulife Classic.

    She rolled in five straight birdies on Thursday, beginning at the par-three No. 14.

    “This is definitely a great layout for my game,” she said. AFP

    Meijer Classic scores
    Leading first round scores in the Meijer Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA unless noted):

    63—Brooke M. Henderson (CAN)

    64—Lexi Thompson, Feng Shanshan (CHN), Jennifer Ha (CAN), Giulia Molinaro (ITA), Holly Clyburn (ENG), Stacy Lewis

    65—Madelene Sagstrom (SWE), Lydia Ko (NZL), Feng Simin (CHN)

    66—Jane Park, Hur Mi-Jung (KOR)

    67—Emily K. Pedersen (DEN), Demi Runas, Tiffany Joh, Jenny Shin (KOR), Kang Hae-Ji (KOR), Cristie Kerr, Alena Sharp (CAN), Jennifer Song, Katherine Perry, Park Sung-Hyun (KOR), Moriya Jutanugarn (THA), Oh Su-Hyun (AUS).

    AFP

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