REGINA, Saskatchewan (AP) — Sung Hyun Park emerged from the scorer's tent to a swarm of fans after shooting an 8-under 64 on Friday in the second round of the CP Women's Open.
Few seemed to notice the defending champion and world's top-ranked female player as she strolled undisturbed down a path at Wascana Country Club.
These fans had only one person on their minds. Brooke Henderson is the star of this show, especially after a second straight 66 left her a stroke behind leader Amy Yang.
"Brooke is almost like Canada's Tiger Woods," Park said after her second straight round with Henderson and Sweden's Anna Nordqvist. "I was really surprised at how many fans came out to support Brooke today. To witness that was pretty awesome."
Dozens of fans — many clad in red and white and waving small Canadian flags — let out a roar when Henderson chipped in on her opening hole and they were just as vocal when the 20-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, capped her round with another birdie. She took advantage of her length Thursday and short game Friday when the wind picked up Friday.
"I hit the ball in good spots and made birdie putts when I had them," Henderson said. "I feel like I made the most of today's round, which is always a great feeling. To be close to the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend is awesome, especially when you're here in Canada."
Jocelyne Bourassa is the only Canadian to win the national championship, accomplishing the feat in the inaugural 1973 La Canadienne at Montreal Municipal. Henderson won the LOTTE Championship in April in Hawaii for her sixth tour title.
Yang followed her opening 66 with a 65 to reach 13 under. The three-time LPGA Tour winner from South Korea birdied four of the first five holes and finished with nine birdies and two bogeys.
"I was hitting it pretty solid out there," Yang said. "But I gave myself a lot of good chances and I think I made most of them out there."
Long-hitting Angel Yin shot a 67 to match Henderson at 12 under. Yin eagled the par-5 12th and closed with three straight birdies on Nos. 7-9.
Park's 64 left her tied for fourth at 10 under. The South Korean star won last week in Indianapolis to match U.S. Women's Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn for the tour victory lead with three. She eagled the par-5 14th, playing her opening nine in 6-under 31.
Jutanugarn, tied for the first-round lead with Nasa Hataoka and Mariajo Uribe after a 64, had a 70 in windy afternoon conditions to join Park, Hataoka (70) and Maria Torres (66) at 10 under. Jutanugarn won the event two years ago in Calgary.
"It's really windy, like so tough today," Jutanugarn said. "I feel like a lot of great shots that I still make bogey. It was really tough."
Nordqvist was 8 under after a 66.
Uribe had a 73 to fall to 7 under.
Three-time champion Lydia Ko was 6 under after a 72. Ko won in 2012 at Vancouver Golf Club at age 15 to become the LPGA Tour's youngest winner and fifth amateur champion. The New Zealander successfully defended her title as an amateur in 2013, winning by five strokes in Edmonton. In 2015, back at Vancouver as a pro, she beat Stacy Lewis in a playoff.
Lexi Thompson missed the cut, shooting 72-78 playing alongside Ko and Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall. Winless in more than a year, Thompson tied for 12th last week in Indianapolis after taking three weeks off for emotional and mental fatigue.
Hall was 6 under after a 70.