VANCOUVER – Struggling through her round, Brooke Henderson found some solace looking at the leaderboard, as most of the field at the CPKC Women’s Open was having a tough time with Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.
Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., grinded out a 3-over round to sit in a tie for 34th at 2 over on Saturday at the Canadian women’s golf championship. A double bogey on the par-4 14th hole was the ugliest blemish on her scorecard, but she took heart a couple of holes later.
“It was disappointing that I let some shots slip away, but looking at the leaderboard on No. 16 I was relieved because everyone else seemed to be having some trouble too, so that made me feel a little bit better about myself,” said Henderson, who then birdied the par-4 16th hole. “Just trying to take some positives out of the day.
“Obviously, not what I was looking for, but hopefully I’ll go out tomorrow and make some birdies.”
Henderson was still processing the round when she spoke with reporters by the scoring tent off the 18th green. Despite her struggles, the fans’ support of the top-ranked Canadian in professional golf remained unwavering.
Some spectators sang “O Canada!” at the 17th hole and a loud ovation ushered her up to the 18th green.
“I feel like I’m a little bit upset with how my game is right now,” said Henderson. “I’m also proud that I’m out here, playing the weekend, and with how things have been, I’m just grateful to be out here with all the love and support from all the fans.
“They made me feel a lot better about myself walking up 18. There is so much love here and that really means a lot to me.”
Although most of the field struggled on Saturday, the two players atop the leaderboard did not.
Megan Khang of the United States had birdies on four of her final five holes to hold on to her second-round lead. She finished at 4-under 68 to move to 11-under overall.
“Honestly, I’m relieved that the day is over,” said Khang. “It was kind of like you look at the leaderboard and you know who is behind you and you try to ignore it as much as you can, but it’s scary.”
The four birdies on Khang’s back nine were necessary to fend off hard-charging Sei Young Kim of South Korea. Kim had two eagles, including a hole-in-one, in a 5-under 67 round to sit in second two shots back of Khang.
She said that she decided to be aggressive after a Shaughnessy member told her during the pro-am that the key to the challenging course was to go for it when the green was reachable.
“(No. 14) especially, we get advantage from the tee shot,” said Kim. “It’s just reachable from the tee shot to the green, 250 metres to the pin, so I hit just driver.”
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (78) is the only other Canadian in the field. She finished the day with a group tied for 62nd at 7 over after a 6-over day.
Although she was frustrated by her round, Sharp still had some fun at No. 17 _ a hockey-themed feature hole dubbed The Rink _ by donning a Vancouver Canucks jersey as she played. In last year’s tournament at Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, the diehard Maple Leafs fan pulled on a Toronto sweater at The Rink to a very mixed reaction.
Things went better for Sharp at Shaughnessy, with spectators banging on the boards to show their approval of the Canucks sweater. She pulled up the sleeves of the jersey for her chip on to the green and then sank a par putt.
“When I was trying to chip the logo was brushing my arms so I tucked it into the back and I actually hit a good chip,” said Sharp. “(Caddie and wife Sarah Bowman) said ‘you should wear that for the rest of the round.”’