RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Canada’s Brooke Henderson is two shots behind the lead after the first round at the LPGA Tour’s second major of the season.
Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a 4-under 68 on her 23rd birthday Thursday after recording birdies on four of her final eight holes at the ANA Inspiration.
“Happy with 4 under,” she said. “It’s definitely a solid start, nice way to spend your birthday, and hopefully I can just keep making some birdies and climb the leaderboard.”
With heat-baked greens so firm she couldn’t find pitch marks, Nelly Korda hit hybrid off the tee on the par-5 18th with a front pin. That set her up for a wedge to 3 feet below the hole for birdie and a 6-under 66, giving her a one-shot lead.
Two-time major champion In Gee Chun had to scramble for par on the 18th for a 67. Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden matched that score with a par on her closing hole at the par-5 ninth with a third shot out of rough so thick she could barely see her golf ball.
Henderson and Danielle Kang, projected to reach No. 1 in the world with a victory at Mission Hills, were among those two shots behind.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp was tied for 77th after a 3-over 75 round.