(Reuters) – Brooke Henderson began the defense of her Portland Classic title with a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday, which gave her a two-stroke lead after the first round.
Henderson won her first LPGA title by eight strokes at Columbia Edgewater Country Club last year.
She called on those memories in an opening round that included nine birdies and gave her a cushion over Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe who are all at five-under-par.
“Just walking around I remember some of the shots I hit. Some of the pin placements are kind of similar, so trying to think back to what the putts did and how they broke,” Henderson told reporters. “Yeah, a lot of great memories.”
Since that victory last year, the Canadian teenager has won her first major title, at the women’s PGA Championship earlier this month, and risen to number two in the world rankings.
Uribe enjoyed a steady round with five birdies. She needed only 26 putts.
“I made the putts I had to make; when I missed the greens I saved the pars,” Uribe said.
“Compared to the last few weeks I just made more putts. Tried to be a little more aggressive with my putting and it worked today. Looking forward for tomorrow.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)