(AFP) - Defending champion and world No. 2 Brooke Henderson fired a seven-under 65 on Thursday to seize a two-stroke lead during the first round of the LPGA Portland Classic.
The 18-year-old Canadian, who won last year's event by eight strokes to become the third-youngest winner in tour history, made a solid start toward repeating as champion with nine birdies against two bogeys at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon.
"It was a good day," she said. "I just really like it here. It suits my eye. Winning here last year, that gives me those extra vibes and extra adrenaline which I think will help as the week goes on."
With the last groups just onto the course, Henderson led American Demi Runas and Colombia's Mariajo Uribe by two strokes with Japan's Ayako Uehara and American Daniela Iacobelli on 68.
Henderson began her round on the back nine with a birdie at the par-5 10th, answered a bogey at the par-3 13th with a birdie on 14 and then closed that side of the course with consecutive birdies.
Henderson, who won her first Major title three weeks ago at the Women's PGA Championship by downing top-ranked Lydia Ko in a play-off, birdied the par-3 second hole but took a bogey at the fourth only to respond by reeling off four birdies in a row, two on par-5 holes and the last a 36-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth.