Brooke Henderson returns from illness, 3 back in Thailand tournament

Canada's Brooke Henderson is three shots behind leader Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea after shooting a 6-under 66 in the opening round of Honda LPGA Thailand on Thursday.

21-year-old Smiths Falls, Ont., golfer missed previous two events

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., showed little rust in the opening round of Honda LPGA Thailand on Thursday, shooting a 6-under 66 after sitting out the last two events because of illness. ( Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Canada's Brooke Henderson is three shots behind leader Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea after shooting a 6-under 66 in the opening round of Honda LPGA Thailand on Thursday.

The bogey-free day marked Henderson's first competitive round since the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Florida ended on Jan. 20. The 21-year-old native of Smiths Falls, Ont., sat out the previous two events because of illness.

"You know, I felt look I did a lot of things really well today," Henderson said. "Maybe just adjust the game plan a little bit going into tomorrow. But I'm just going to rest and hopefully come out tomorrow and get a couple birdies early."

Henderson is in a four-way tie for fifth. Ji has a two-shot lead on Minjee Lee of Australia, Danielle Kang of the United States and Jenny Shin of South Korea.

Henderson tied for seventh at this tournament last year.

Ji won her fifth U.S. LPGA Tour title in her previous event last month, the Tournament of Champions.

She picked up right where she left off, in Chonburi.

After an opening birdie and a bogey on the third hole, Ji birdied nine out of the following 14 holes on the Siam Country Club Pattaya's Old Course.

"I felt really great. I didn't miss any fairways and missed just two greens," Ji said. "I have a lot of confidence.

Lee was bogey free as she eagled the 15th and birdied five holes on a humid day.

"I was little bit slow starting out. I finished with three birdies on the last three holes at the front nine, and got a little bit better momentum," Lee said.

World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, the 2013 runner-up, carded a 4-under 68, mixing an eagle and six birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey.

WATCH | David Hearn shoots 6-under 66:

David Hearn, of Brantford, Ont. carded a four-under 68 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Open. 0:24

Brantford's Hearn 2 back in Puerto Rico

Andres Romero shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open, while Canada's David Hearn was part of a group two shots back.

Romero birdied three of his last five holes in a bogey-free round at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club. The 37-year-old Argentine player won his lone PGA Tour titles in New Orleans in 2008 and has two European Tour victories.

Austria's Sepp Straka was a stroke back in the event that was cancelled last year because of Hurricane Maria.

Hearn, of Brantford, Ont., was at 68 with Ben Crane, Ollie Schniederjans, Roberto Castro, Martin Piller, Roberto Diaz, Joey Garber, Nate Lashley and Alex Kang. Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Clemson senior Bryson Nimmer topped the group at 69. Calgary's Roger Sloan was part of a group at 70.

Daniel Berger, at No. 72 has the highest world ranking in the field, opened with a 70. D.A. Points, the 2017 winner, shot 71. Puerto Rico's Rafael Campos, a winner on the Tour at the start of the year, had a 73.

Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., was at 2-over 74 and Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., was at 6-over 78.

The winner will receive a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and an exemption to the PGA Championship, but won't get an invitation to the Masters.


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