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Brooke Henderson leads 1 over Nelly Korda in the LPGA Tour opener

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Orlando, Florida – Brooke Henderson Enjoy the opening day of the new LPGA Tour season much more than the tough, waning days of last season.

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Her lopsided back feeling stronger and swinging the club more freely than she’s been able to since October, Henderson attacked Lake Nona on Thursday with a six-for-5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead at Hilton Grand Vacations. Champions.

Henderson, who finished third in the race to the CME Globe last year, started quickly with birdies on three of her first eight holes. She added three more against one bogey on her inside nine to take a one-shot lead Nelly Kordawho is ranked No. 2 is the highest-ranked player in this week’s only field of winners.

“It feels really good, to get off to a hot start, that’s always a great feeling,” said Henderson, who won twice last season, including her second career major, at the Evian Championships. “Hopefully I can keep it going for the next three days, lots of momentum and lots of birdies. You really need to go lower here if conditions are going to stay as nice as they are.”

A year ago, players were wearing hats and fleece layers in unseasonably cold Florida weather. Thursday was a nice, sunny day with temperatures in the 80’s.

Although most of the players had been out for a while, a few showed rust. Seventeen players have broken even of the 29 players who are LPGA title winners in 2021 and 2022.

Korda, who won the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona in early 2021, almost matched Henderson, making five birdies against a lone bogey in the opening of 68.

She played alongside former MLB player Derek Lowe, the defending champion from the Mixed Field’s Famous Athletes division. There is a section for LPGA professionals and a section for celebrities, and each section has its own award. She and Louie, together for three rides in the event a year ago, spent the day motivating each other to keep making birdsong.

“I encourage her more,” Lowe said. “It’s a blessing to play with her. I hope she wins.”

England Charlie Hull and first-time winners Gemma Dryburgh (Scotland) and Ashley Bohai (South Africa) opened with 69 seconds. title holder Daniel Kang She played her way up the leaderboard early, but bogeys at 12 and 13 left her at 1-U-71, tied for ninth.

Henderson’s 2022 campaign ended with a whimper: She pulled out of her second-to-last start in November and earned a tie for seventh at the CME Group Tour Championships in Naples, Florida, where she lives. After that, it’s time for some rest, then back rehabilitation.

Henderson had a bag full of new clubs Thursday (so did Korda), and he swung hard. Her only blemish was a bogey on the par-3 17, where she fanned a short iron 8 and failed to get up and down, but immediately recovered with a birdie on the 388-yard 18. She plugged a pass drive (she only missed two passes), then hit the throwing wedge to 15 feet, Which led to the blow being diverted to another bird.

As for the back? no pain.

“Today it was fine, yeah, nothing, not even thinking about it,” she said. “I’m just making sure I’m doing the right things tonight (receiving treatment) and tomorrow and hopefully moving forward.

“It’s great to be aggressive and to be able to follow shots again.”

Leading the celebrity division was a household name for all — 72-time LPGA Champion Annika Sorenstam, a Lake Nona native. Runner-up in 2022, Sorenstam has 39 points in the modified Stapleford scoring system, two points behind the 2021 champion. Mardi Fisha former tennis player.

Her husband and caddy, Mike McGee, told her when the tour was over that it was the first ghost-free tour in quite some time.

“It wasn’t in my mind, but obviously I’m very happy to play here without a bogey,” Sorenstam said.

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