ORLANDO, Fla.—Brooke Henderson is one day closer to a dream start to the 2023 LPGA Tour season.
After a 3-under 69 in the third round of the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, the Canadian sits at 14 under and has a three-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
Henderson birdied both par fives on the front nine to shoot a 2-under 34. She added another birdie on the par-4 11th before making her first bogey of the week on 12 after leaving her approach shot short and missing a 20-foot par attempt. But she snaked in a long birdie on the par-4 16th to get it back.
She added a clutch par-saver on 18 after a nifty bump-and-run with a hybrid to six feet.
The native of Smiths Falls, Ont. was a ball-striking machine again Saturday missing just two fairways and three greens on the day. She had a few chances to extend her lead on the back nine with birdies but couldn’t convert with a putter that was a little colder than the previous two days.
Henderson, who won twice last season, is looking for her 13th title on the LPGA Tour. If she were to lift the trophy Sunday it would be the earliest victory in any calendar year for Henderson — the previous being April 14.
Japan’s Nasa Hataoka and world No. 2 Nelly Korda are tied for second at 11 under. Hataoka shot a tournament-best tying 6-under 66, while Korda shot a 4-under 68.
Henderson led by as many as six shots at one point in the third round, but Korda made five birdies in seven holes after making the turn to chip away at the lead.
The Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions also has a celebrity division, and after the last two days of playing with that division’s leaders, Henderson will be grouped with only the pros — Hataoka and Korda — for the final round from Lake Nona Golf and Country Club.
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