(Reuters) – Brooke Henderson plans to celebrate her birthday and a solid start to the ANA Inspiration with a slice of cake after signing for a four-under-par 68 and a share of fourth place at the year’s second major.
The Canadian, who turned 23 on Thursday, found herself in a four-way tie for the lead after her morning round at Mission Hills Country Club before being overtaken by American Nelly Korda, who leads the field on six-under.
Henderson started on the back nine, sinking her first birdie on the par-four 16th, before an error in her first hole after the turn saw her slip back to even par.
She finished strong with four more birdies in her final eight holes.
“I’m happy with the four-under, it’s definitely a solid start, a nice way to spend your birthday and hopefully I can keep making some birdies and climb the leaderboard,” she said.
“Now I’m just going to hang out and hopefully have some cake.”
The tournament in Rancho Mirage, California is usually played in April but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is being held without fans in attendance.
The weather has been the main talking point so far, with temperatures expected to soar above 100°F (37.8°C).
Henderson had the best of the conditions after being handed an early start, but will have to contend with peak afternoon temperatures during Friday’s second round.
“It’s definitely very hot and it will be very different from today,” she added. “It was kind of nice in the morning, things were a little bit softer, it was a little bit cooler. I felt like it was definitely scoring conditions.
“Tomorrow afternoon I think we’ll just have to play really smart. Play our way around the golf course hitting specific spots and just being careful of run outs on the fairways and on the greens.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)