RIO DE JANEIRO – Brooke Henderson shot an uncharacteristic opening-round 70 in the Olympics. She looked out of sorts. In fact, she was a complete non-factor again Thursday after 12 holes. Then she birdied five of the last six to shoot 64 and vaulted up the leaderboard into a third-place tie with Charley Hull.
Inbee Park is in the lead, two shots ahead. Stacy Lewis is in solo second place.
“I’m really happy with today and hopefully I’ll do something similar tomorrow,” Henderson, 18, said.
The spark came on the 13th hole when Henderson nearly holed out from 175 yards with a 5-iron. The birdie was a kick-in. She had short birdie putts on 15 and 18, but the two on 16 and 17 were both a touch over 20 feet long.
“I think I played really smart, though, which I’m really happy about,” she said.
After the Women’s British Open, Henderson took a couple days to rest and do nothing, before beginning her Olympic preparation. She felt good about her practice sessions but wasn’t quite sure how she’d play here this week.
“There’s still lots of golf left and lots of people around the leaderboard,” she said. “I have a lot of work to do but so does everybody else here.”