GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) - Brooke Henderson birdied her first three holes and the final one Thursday for a 6-under 67 and a share of the first-round lead at the Australian Ladies Masters.
The 18-year-old Canadian, at No. 11 the highest-ranked player in the field, started on the back nine at Royal Pines. She had seven birdies overall and her only bogey came on the par-4 sixth.
Henderson set the pace in the morning rounds and finished level with Denmark’s Nicole Broch Larson and France’s Marion Ricordeau.
“My goal was to get off to a fast start and capitalize,” Henderson said. “I hit the ball extremely well and played as well as I am capable on the first few holes.”
Jiyai Shin, Taiwan’s Cheng Ssu-chia, England’s Lauren Taylor and Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth were a stroke behind and tied for fourth after 68s.
Henderson showed her power when she drove the green on the par-4, 267-yard eighth hole, and was putting for eagle on the par-5 18th, after a five-iron approach.
“I decided if it was calm I’d go for the green on the eighth and finished about 20 meters past the pin,” she said. “Unfortunately, I three-putted.”
Australian Su Oh, the defending champion, shot 71. Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods and 2014 champion, had a 75. England veteran Laura Davies, playing in the same group as Woods, shot 76.
“I hit it everywhere and made clumsy mistakes,” Oh said. “I needed to hit accurate shots, especially on the back nine, but I did not deliver today.”
The tournament, which began under sunny skies and virtually no wind, is sanctioned by the Ladies European and Australian Ladies tours. Nearly all of the players on the leaderboard played morning rounds.
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