Burlington, Ont. – Team Canada member Elizabeth Tong made eight birdies Tuesday at Burlington Golf and Country Club and leads the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada by three shots over the defending champion Brooke Henderson.
Tong’s impressive bogey-free round of 8-under-par 62 not only was the low round of the day, but was also low enough to set a new women’s competitive course record at Burlington Golf and Country Club.
“I didn’t really even realize I was five-under-par on the front nine until I got to No. 11 and I was like, “Oh, wait a minute I’m going pretty low,’” the amateur said. “This golf course seems pretty open to me, so it really doesn’t scare me. The greens are rolling really nicely right now, so you can easily roll them on the line you want.”
Tong, the 22-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., was recently named to the 2015 Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholars team. The Indiana University Hoosier senior is a three-time collegiate winner and a first-year Team Canada member.
“We play a lot of tournaments and it definitely keeps me busy,” she said about her first year on the national team. “It’s a lot of information intake and literally I’m learning new things every single week.”
Brooke Henderson, who won the 2014 PGA Women’s Championship of Canada, sits three back in second place after a first round 5-under-par 65.
“Overall it was a pretty good day and I’m right there in the mix,” Henderson said about her round that featured six birdies, an eagle, a bogey and a double-bogey on No. 18. “I was very fortunate to win this championship last year and I’m hoping to do the same this year.”
In 2014, Henderson became not only the first amateur to capture the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada, but the youngest as well. As a 16-year-old she posted a two-day total of 13-under par at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka, Ont., setting a new championship scoring record.
Currently ranked No. 32 in the world, the Smiths Falls, Ont., native recently finished T5 at the U.S. Women’s Open at the Lancaster Country Club. Henderson also finished T5 at the Women’s PGA Championship—the second of the LPGA Tour’s five majors—in June.
In addition to her two top-five finishes in majors this year, Henderson has four more top-25 finishes on the LPGA Tour in 2015, including a third at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. The former Team Canada member also won the Four Winds Invitational on the Symetra Tour in June and has a pair of Suncoast Ladies Tour wins to her name this past winter as well.
American Sydney Cox also posted a 5-under-par round of 65 will join Tong and Henderson in the championship’s final group at 12:38 p.m.
Doris Chen put together a 4-under-par 66 first round, while Stephanie Connelly rounds out the top five after posting a 3-under-par 67. Kyla Inaba of Kelowna, B.C., and Stratford, Ont.’s, both shot two under and are T6. Amateur Valerie Tanguay of St. Hyacinthe, Que.; Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C.; and Americans Lauren Mielbrecht, Brooke Baker and Michele Chun are T8.
Full results from the first round as well as second round tee times are available here.
In total, 18 players posted par or better first round scores Tuesday at Burlington Golf and Country Club.
Designed in 1924 by famed Canadian golf course architect Stanley Thompson, Burlington was ranked No. 98 on SCOREGolf’s Top 100 Golf Courses in Canada 2014 Ranking.
The PGA Women’s Championship of Canada was first played in 1987 and past champions include Cathy Sherk, Gail Graham, Nancy Harvey, Lorie Kane, Alena Sharp, Jessica Shepley and last year’s winner Brooke Henderson.
The PGA Women’s Championship of Canada will count as the third and final stop on the Canadian Women’s Tour with points awarded toward the Jocelyne Bourassa Player of the Year at the conclusion of the championship.
Similar to past years, the champion of each Canadian Women’s Tour stop and the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada will receive an exemption into the 2015 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to be held Aug. 17-23, 2015 at the Vancouver Golf Club in Vancouver. As well, following the conclusion of play at the PGA Women’s Championship of Canada, two (2) additional exemptions will be awarded to the top competitors, not otherwise exempt into the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open from the 2015 Canadian Women’s Tour Order of Merit.
In addition, the top five (previously the top 3) players on the Canadian Women’s Tour season-ending Order of Merit will be awarded direct entry into LPGA Stage-2 Qualifying.