Brooke Henderson shot a bogey-free five-under-par 68 in windy conditions Thursday to take the first-round lead in the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
“We did a really good job of hitting balls pin-high, and I don’t know how we did it,” Henderson said about caddie and sister, Brittany. “It’s hard to judge wind sometimes, but I feel like we calculated everything really well.”
The 20-year-old Canadian had four birdies in a seven-hole stretch and closed with three pars on the gusty Ocean Club layout at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
“On 8 and 9, my 17th and 18th holes, putting was extremely difficult,” Henderson said. “My hat felt like it was falling off all the time. It was just hard to have good balance and kind of be over the putt for that long and have a good stroke on it.”
She has five LPGA Tour victories, winning last year in Michigan and in high wind New Zealand.
“I think by Sunday we will all be pretty good wind players,” Henderson said.
Australia’s Sarah Jane Smith finished with a bogey to drop into a tie for second with Spanish rookie Luna Sobron Galmes.
“I like playing in the struggle, I grew up playing in the wind, and I do enjoy playing difficult shots and stuff like that,” Smith said. “It’s probably better for me (other) people don’t like it.”
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng birdied her last for a 70. “This is really windy and my ball-striking is not 100 percent yet,” Feng said.
Danielle Kang also was at 70 with Lindsey Weaver, Katherine Kirk, Jing Yan and Maria Torres, the tour’s first player from Puerto Rico.
Lexi Thompson, a playoff loser to Brittany Lincicome last year, opened with a 72.
“If I’m playing well I know I can play well in the wind,” Thompson said. “The key is to hit it solid. The amateurs get out here and they start hitting harder and harder, but that’s not the key. You’ve got to swing a little bit smoother and make sure you get that center contact. “
Michelle Wie eagled the par-five 11th in a 73, and playing partners Lincicome and third-ranked So Yeon Ryu followed at 74. Kim and Ariya Jutanugarn shot 76, and Stacy Lewis had two double bogeys in a 78.
Twelve players were unable to finish the round because of darkness.
Donaldson flirts with a 59
Jamie Donaldson flirted with the European Tour’s first-ever 59 before settling for a 10-under 62 Thursday in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
In perfect scoring conditions at the Emirates Golf Club, the 42-year-old Donaldson took a one-shot lead over Anthony Wall and David Horsey.
Tyrrell Hatton (64) was fourth, while four-time major winner Rory McIlroy was among five players at 65.
Donaldson, a former European Ryder Cup player now ranked 292nd, started on the 10th hole and made four birdies and an eagle to make the turn at 6 under.
He then birdied the second before picking up four shots in a row from the fourth. He went close to chipping in for another birdie on the 17th but missed his up-and-down for par from the rough at the ninth.
Donaldson, who last won on the tour at the 2014 Czech Masters, said the thought of becoming the first player to shoot a 59 crossed his mind.
“You can never be disappointed with 10-under, can you?” said the Welshman, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi last week. “I knew what was on the cards out there and I think I had five holes to go when I started thinking about 59.”