Saturday's golf: Brooke Henderson wins LA Open for 10th LPGA Tour title

Associated Press
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Los Angeles — Brooke Henderson rallied to win the HUGEL Air Premia LA Open on Saturday for her 10th LPGA Tour title, chipping in for birdie on the par-3 12th in an early back-nine burst and getting up-and-down for par on the last.

Brooke M. Henderson tees off from the first fairway during the final round of the LPGA's Hugel-Air Premia LA Open golf tournament at Wilshire Country Club Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Four strokes behind leader Jessica Korda and three back of top-ranked Jin Young Ko entering the sunny, breezy day at Wilshire Country Club, Henderson closed with her second straight 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Korda.

“I think as I age I’m getting more nerves,” Henderson said. “But I was just really happy with how I went out today. I was a lot of shots back, but I just said to myself to keep the same game plan and try to make as many birdies as I could. I’m just really happy with how everything turned out.

The 23-year-old Canadian birdied the par-4 11th to take the lead at 15 under, hitting a 144-yard shot to 3 feet of the back, right pin. She holed out from 70 feet from right and below the green on 12, and made a 6-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 14th.

“I was definitely disappointed that I missed the green there,” Henderson said about the 12th. “Fortunately, I had a lot of green to work with. ... But to catch the hole and make birdie there it was definitely a huge momentum change, and I think that’s probably what won it today.”

Henderson bogeyed the par-4 17th to cut her lead to two, then chipped inside 2 feet for par on the par-3 18th after her 8-iron shot rolled off the right edge of the green and into a low collection area.

The sixth-ranked Henderson won for the first time since the Meijer LPGA Classic in June 2019. She finished at 16-under 268 to break the event record of 14 under set by Minjee Lee in 2019.

Korda closed with a 72, missing a chance for her second victory of the year after leading after each of the first three rounds. She won the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January for her sixth LPGA Tour title.

“Really frustrating, really couldn’t get anything going,” Korda said. “I was hitting it really good and then just it wasn’t happening for me for some reason. Just kept getting screwed and the wind kept dropping and then coming back up. .. it just wasn’t happening. I don’t know.”

She parred the first six and bogeyed Nos. 7 and 9, made her first birdie of the day on the par-5 13th, then gave the stroke back on 14.

“I tried. I tried to force a couple birdies,” Korda said. “I had a great little 8-iron into the par-5 15th and takes the biggest bounce I’ve ever seen and goes over the green.”

While Henderson made her move early on the back nine, Ko bogeyed the 11th and 12th in a 72 that left her tied with Australia's Hannah Green at 14 under. The South Korean star was coming off a two-week break after finishing seventh in the ANA Inspiration.

“Was tough,” Ko said. “Wind was difficult out there. ... I couldn’t focus on my game.”

Green eagled the 14th and birdied the par-5 15th in a 66.

Major champions So Yeon Ryu (68) and Angela Stanford (70) tied for fifth at 12 under.

Zurich Classic

Avondale, La. — Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel birdied six of their final eight holes Saturday to shoot a 9-under 63 and take a one-shot lead at 19-under 197 into the final round of the Zurich Classic.

The South African tandem birdied the par-3 17th with Oosthuizen’s 33-foot putt and Oosthuizen missed an eagle on the par-5 18th by 4 inches before tapping in for the lead while wearing a somewhat disgusted look because of his narrowly missed previous putt from nearly 17 feet.

Tournament officials use golf carts to coax an alligator off of the 17th fairway and back into the water.

Oosthuizen then allowed for a smile while fist-bumping Schwartzel in acknowledgment of a successful round in a best-ball format that included nine birdies – five by Schwartzel and four by Oosthuizen in the PGA Tour’s lone regular-season team event.

Schwartzel got the pair going when he birdied No. 4 with a nearly 58-foot putt.

The tournament will close with an alternate-shot round.

“It’s going to be tough tomorrow,” Oosthuizen said. “Anyone within four shots of the lead has got a chance with the format that it is tomorrow. … The way the wind is the whole week, I think the golf course plays very tough, especially in alternate-shot.”

In all, 17 teams were no more than four strokes back.

Australians Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith also shot a 63 to move into a tie for second at 18 under with Cameron Champ and Tony Finau, who shot a 67 after Finau’s tap-in birdie.

“Cam is playing great, putting great. I’m feeling a lot better over the ball today than I did the first two rounds,” Leishman said. “If I can play good, Cam keeps doing what he’s doing, I think we’ve got a good chance.”

Tied for fourth at 17 under were the teams of Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler, and Norwegians Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura, who’d shared the lead after the first and second rounds.

Ryan Palmer and Spaniard Jon Rahm, the defending champs from 2019, shot a third-round 65 to remain in contention at 15 under and tied for ninth with nine other teams.

Saturday’s action included some exceptional shots by players further back in the field, including Sam Ryder’s double-eagle from 206 yards on the par-5 second hole and Wyndham Clark’s 106-yard approach from the muddy edge of a water hazard on 16.

Clark stood in the water in bare feet with his pants rolled up and splattered virtually all of himself with mud as he sent his ball to the edge of the green, about 15 feet from the hole, from where he made par. Clark and teammate Erik van Rooyen were among the teams at 15 under.

Ryder and Doc Redman, who shot a third-round 66, were tied for 19th at 13 under.

Europe

Garrick Higgo of South Africa shot 7 under and took a two-shot lead into the final round of the Gran Canaria Open at Las Palmas, Spain.

Higgo’s round of 63 was a career best for him on the European Tour. He eagled the par-5 fourth hole and hit six birdies to go with one bogey at the Meloneras Golf Course on Spain’s Canary Islands.

“It was good. An unbelievable start,” Higgo said about going 5 under on his first four holes.

“I putted well, my chipping has been great,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try and be aggressive if I can (tomorrow), but I’m just going to enjoy it. It’s a good spot to be in.”

The 21-year-old Higgo is seeking his second title on the tour after winning the Portugal Open last season.

Matthias Schwab, Matthieu Pavon, and Connor Syme are all two shots back, followed by Sam Horsfield and Jeff Winther at three behind.

Wu Ashun’s round of 61 was the lowest round ever by a Chinese player on the European Tour. He is four shots back with seven other players.

Wu’s 61 matched a course record established on Friday by overnight leader Thorbjørn Olesen, Syme and Horsfield.

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