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Sports Last Updated: Jan 26, 2018 - 1:34:37 PM

Canada’s Brooke Henderson Posts Spotless 68 To Grab Lead At Windy Pure Silk-bahamas LPGA Classic
By Dave Shedloski
Jan 25, 2018 - 7:05:47 PM

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PSB. Henderson

Leads by one over Sarah Jane Smith And Rookie Luna Sobron Galmes

Paradise Island, Bahamas – Brooke Henderson of Canada played impeccable golf amid unrelenting winds Thursday to shoot a bogey-free 5-under-par 68 and grab a one-stroke lead after the first round of the $1.4 million Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Coming off a two-win season in 2017, Henderson, 20, was one of just 17 players to better par on a challenging day at the Ocean Club Golf Course at Atlantis Resort when winds gusted to 35 miles per hour and blew steadily at 15-20 mph. She led by a stroke over Rookie Luna Sobron Galmes of Spain and veteran Sarah Jane Smith of Australia.

Sobron Galmes, 23, playing in her first event as an LPGA member after finishing fifth at the tour’s qualifying tournament in December, hit 11 of 14 fairways, 14 greens and had two sand saves to join Smith atop the leaderboard. In her 13th year on the LPGA, Smith, 33, is seeking her first victory.

PSB. Rolle

Though the high winds did not cause any delays, they slowed the pace of play considerably, especially on the greens, where balls wobbled constantly. The first round was suspended because of darkness at 5:59 p.m. EST with 12 players on the course. They will return at 7:10 a.m. to complete their round. The second round will begin on schedule, also at 7:10 a.m.

Henderson finished well before the horn, and well ahead of most in the 108-player field, thanks to a solid all-around effort highlighted by good distance control leading to just 26 putts. “It was crazy,” she said of the day. “Beginning of the week I thought it was going to be Friday through Sunday that [we’d get] crazy wind. I thought I was going to get a break today, and I thought I was going to be in the good wave in the afternoon today and in the morning tomorrow, but I guess it's going to keep getting stronger every day, so just try and go out and do what I did today, but I think that will be tough to repeat.

“You know, Britt [caddie and sister Brittany] and I, we did a really good job of hitting balls pin-high, and I don't know how we did it,” Henderson added. “It's hard to judge wind sometimes, but I feel like we calculated everything really well.”

The same could be said for Sobron Galmes and Smith, who each have experience in windy weather in their respective home countries.

“In Majorca, in my town where I live, the wind is very hard, so it's like this,” said Sobron Galmes, who has competed twice previously in the Women’s British Open. “I feel very … the course really is good. You play well, everything goes well, so I don't know, I am very confident.”

The last player believed to win in her first LPGA start was Beverly Hanson in the 1951 Eastern Open at Berkshire Country Club in Reading, Pa., when she rallied past Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Scoring conditions were vastly different from a year ago when eventual winner Brittany Lincicome opened with a 64 in light breezes and 70 players broke par.

“I like playing in the struggle,” Smith, from Queensland, said, “and I do enjoy playing difficult shots and stuff like that, so it's probably better for me if people don't like it.”

Two strokes behind Henderson with 70 was a group of six players that included Shanshan Feng, the No. 1 player in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, and Maria Torres of Puerto Rico, making her professional debut.

Lexi Thompson, Race to the CME Globe champion and runner-up last year, battled to a 1-under 72. Lincicome birdied her final hole to post 74.

“I hit some very solid golf shots,” said Thompson, who won the Vare Trophy in 2017 for lowest stroke average on tour. “You have to trust your lines out here because sometimes you have to aim or you will have trouble ending up in the fairway. I felt very comfortable in the course, and I putted really well, and it's hard when the wind is blowing and you're looking over your putt and the ball is trying to move, but, yeah, it was tough.”

The sixth annual Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic is the opening event on the LPGA schedule for the fourth time. Offering a purse of $1.4 million, the tournament features a field of 108 players from 24 countries that includes 15 major champions and 12 winners from the 2017.

Live second-round coverage on Golf Channel begins at 11:30 a.m. Third-round coverage Saturday is 3:30-5:30 p.m. and Sunday’s live final-round coverage will air 3-5 p.m.

Admission is free for all spectators. Doors open at 7 a.m. EST.

For more information, contact the Tournament Office at +1 242.676.2325 or the Media Center at 242.698.6005 or visit www.puresilkbahamasclassic.com.

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