Brooke Henderson holds first-round lead at Lake Nona

Brooke Henderson felt no pain in her back and had plenty of power in her swings on Thursday while taking a one-shot lead at the season-opening Tournament of Champions at Orlando, Fla.

Henderson carded six birdies for a 5-under 67 at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club. The Canadian holds a one-shot lead over Nelly Korda.

Henderson had three birdies on the front nine and three more on the back. Her lone bogey came on the par-3, 17th hole.

Overall, Henderson felt it was a good round of golf on a course she likes.

“It does feel really good, and to get off to a hot start, that’s always a great feeling,” Henderson said. “Hopefully I can continue it the next three days, a lot of momentum, and lots of birdies. You really need to go low here if the conditions are going to stay as nice as they are.”

Late last season, Henderson was plagued by back issues and she spent the short offseason working on strengthening her back.

She said she didn’t encounter any problems during the opening 18 holes.

“It’s good. Like this year, I’m back to swinging how I want to swing my driver and I’m aggressive on every swing,” Henderson said. “I kind of have a good feel for things now. I’m not scared of hurting it right now, knock on wood, so hopefully that just continues.”

Korda recorded five birdies and one bogey in her round. She had two birdies on the front nine and three on the back. Her bogey was on the par-3, No. 4.

“Overall, it was a pretty good day,” Korda said. “New clubs, new season, kind of haven’t been playing, obviously, as much as I would in a season, but I’m happy with today’s round.”

The event consists of 29 golfers who were LGPA winners in 2021 and 2022.

There is a four-way tie for third with England’s Charley Hull, Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh, South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai and Chinese Taipei’s Wei-Ling Hsu all shooting 69s.

Japan’s Yuka Saso and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff are tied for seventh at 70.

Defending champion Danielle Kang is part of a nine-way tie for ninth at 1-under 71.

In the celebrity division, legendary Annika Sorenstam is in the lead with 39 points in the Modified Stableford scoring system. Former tennis player Mardy Fish is two points behind. Sorenstam lives at Lake Nona.

“There’s no doubt I have an advantage being home,” Sorenstam said. “I’m out here every day. I actually live on the 16th hole, and to get to our house, you have to drive between the back tee and the regular men’s tee, so you could say I’m on the golf course every day.”

–Field Level Media

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