KAWAGOE, Japan — Some time on the putting green after a disappointing opening round at the Tokyo Olympics helped Canada's Brooke Henderson go out and get some of the birdies she'd left on the course the day before.
Henderson shot a 3-under 68 in the second round of the women's golf tournament on Thursday to sit in a tie for 34th at even par. Henderson felt she was headed in the right direction after a disappointing 3 over in the first round.
"To be honest, yesterday it could have gone really well, I was playing really well the front nine, just kind of stumbled coming in," said Henderson, who bogeyed Nos. 11, 15, 17 and 18 in her opening round.
"I just wasn't really comfortable with the putter. But I practised a lot after the round yesterday and got a few things figured out, I think, and the flat stick worked a little better for me today."
Henderson had three birdies on the front nine Thursday and added two more on the 11th and 17th holes. But she also had a bogey on No. 15 and another on No. 18.
Teammate Alena Sharp had an even-par 71 to sit 3 over after two rounds. She had a bogey on the par-3 fourth hole and a birdie on the par-4 15th hole.
Sharp said she was feeling OK after hitting the driving range in the morning but then struggled to find her tempo to start her round.
"I found it on the seventh hole, so it took a while, but I gave myself some chances," said Sharp. "Some putts could have gone in, but they didn't, so maybe tomorrow. I gave myself a lot of chances, it could have been 3 or 4 under, definitely."
American Nelly Korda was atop the leaderboard after she fired a 9-under 62 on Thursday for a four-shot lead. Denmark's Nanna Koerstz Madsen, India's Aditi Ashok and Denmark's Emily Kristine Pedersen were in a group tied for second at 9 under.
Temperatures in the region soared for the second day in a row, getting as high as 39 degrees Celsius with the humidity making it feel like it was in the high 40s. Henderson said the heat was affecting her toward the end of her round.
"I feel like the last few days I've definitely felt it on the back nine a lot more, but feeling good right now," said Henderson, who noted that eating healthy was as important as hydration to avoid heat stroke.
"Hopefully good rest and lots of water tonight and I'll be feeling good for tomorrow."
The weather could impact Henderson in other ways.
The International Golf Federation sent an email out to the field of 60 golfers in the tournament late Wednesday saying the tournament may be reduced to three rounds. The IGF said it may be necessary to shorten the tournament as a tropical storm system is expected to move into the area around Kasumigaseki Country Club over the weekend.
Because it's so hot, it would be unsafe to have the golfers play more than 18 holes in a day and it's a tradition at the Olympics to have no competition after the closing ceremonies.
Henderson said an abbreviated tournament would hurt her chances at winning a medal.
"If I was near the top of the leaderboard, I would be loving it that it's possibly only three days," said Henderson. "Where I am it's probably better for me if there's two more rounds, so I can maybe climb a little bit more.
"But that's golf, you never really know, there's lots of variables and lots of conditions that you kind of just have to deal with."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2021.