Brooke Henderson makes big move at Canadian Open

Canada's Brooke Henderson, who made the cutline on the final hole Friday, rocketed up the leaderboard with eight birdies Saturday.
Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who made the cutline on the final hole Friday, rocketed up the leaderboard with eight birdies Saturday.  (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)  

OTTAWA—Brooke Henderson made a big move Saturday in the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to the delight of her many home fans.

The 19-year-old major champion from nearby Smiths Falls shot a course-record 8-under 63 to get into contention at Ottawa Hunt, finishing before most of the other leaders even teed off.

“I knew I had to get going,” Henderson said. “Today is moving day, and I moved, that’s for sure.”

A day after birdieing the par-5 18th to make the weekend cut on the number, Henderson had eight birdies in her bogey-free round to reach 7 under, leaving her three strokes behind third-round leaders Nicole Broch Larsen and Mo Martin.

“I felt like I could make something happen,” Henderson said. “I made putts that I didn’t even know I could make, and I made shots that were just great . . . I felt like I was in the best place of mind for me to play my best. That’s always a great feeling.

Larsen, an LPGA Tour rookie from Denmark, birdied two of the last three holes for a 66.

“I’ve made 21 birdies so far, so I know (the course is) scorable,” Larsen said. “I’ll just try to do what I’ve done the first three days, especially like today, trying to keep those bogeys off my card. Because I know I can make enough birdies to win. It’s just a matter if I can keep the bogeys off the cards.”

Five-time LPGA Tour winner Sophie Gustafson is serving as Larsen’s caddie.

“It’s our first week together,” Larsen said. “But she’s definitely a help out there. We’re just trying to kind of play our game for three holes and then we go three holes and starting a new game. That’s kind of kept me in the birdie moment. It’s been really good so far. I’m sure she will help me tomorrow.”

Martin birdied the final two holes for a 67. She won the 2014 Women’s British Open for her lone tour title.

“I had another solid front and then a hot back nine, so that’s a good combination here,” Martin said. “Pretty much just continuing the momentum from the last couple days.”

Second-round leader In Gee Chun was a stroke back after a 70.

Cristie Kerr (68) and Mirim Lee (66) were 8 under.

“I really haven’t hit my stride hitting it yet this week,” said Kerr, the 2006 winner at London Hunt. “I feel like if I hit it good I’m going to be a force tomorrow.”

Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (69) was at 7 under along with Henderson, Stacy Lewis (69), Shanshan Feng (68), Marina Alex (70) and Mi Jung Hur (65).

Brittany Marchand (72) of Orangeville, Ont., finished the day tied for 45th at 1 under.

Henderson has four LPGA Tour victories, winning the major KPMG Women’s PGA last year and the Meijer LPGA Classic in June. She trying to join Jocelyne Bourassa (1973 La Canadienne) as the only Canadians to win an LPGA Tour event in Canada.

“The biggest crowds I’ve ever played in front of, and I know they’re all out here for me, so that makes it even more special,” Henderson said. “Coming up 18 I kind of just took a peek around and I didn’t see any green grass outside of the ropes,” Henderson said. “Everybody was everywhere. So it’s such an incredible feeling. Being so close to home makes this week so much more special.”

She expects even bigger and louder crowds Sunday.

“Crazy, crazy. But I’m super excited for it,” Henderson said. “Hopefully, it does live up to the expectation, and hopefully I can play well enough to keep their interest and see what happens.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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