Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 4-under 68 on her 23rd birthday Thursday after recording birdies on four of her final eight holes at the ANA Inspiration.
“Happy with 4 under,” she said. “It’s definitely a solid start, nice way to spend your birthday, and hopefully I can just keep making some birdies and climb the leaderboard.”
After the morning wave, Henderson sat in a tie for top spot with top-ranked Danielle Kang of the United States, Yu Liu of China and Kelly Tan of Malaysia. She closed the day one stroke back of leader Nelly Korda.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, the only other Canadian in the field, shot a 3-over 75.
With sizzling temperatures at the course (the high was 36 C on Thursday), caddies – including Henderson’s sister Brittany – are allowed to use electric carts.
“Normally I would never agree to taking carts, but definitely under the circumstances with it being so hot out here, and I definitely felt like since the LPGA was allowing us to use them, it was definitely an advantage for us,” Brooke Henderson said. “It was nice, she was able to zoom along, get to my ball fast, calculate some numbers, really get a feel for all the conditions, and then by the time I arrived she already had everything already set out and we could discuss a little bit more specifically.”
Henderson wasn’t in top form in her first two events since the LPGA Tour returned from its COVID-19 suspension last month, missing the cut at the British Open and tying for 49th at the Arkansas Championship.
Henderson has a Canadian record nine wins on the top tour, including a major title at the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.