IRVING, TX – Team Canada Young Pro Squad member Brooke Henderson had little time to reflect on her third place finish at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic – a result that had Canadian golf fans glued to their television sets reeling with pride from coast-to-coast.
Just a few hours after recording her career best finish on the LPGA Tour, the Smiths Falls, Ont., native was on a plane leaving San Francisco, headed to Texas so she could attempt to “Monday qualify” for this week’s Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC.
“Yeah, it was a little bit crazy,” Henderson said. “We went straight to the airport Sunday night, and didn’t have a flight. We got one and it was delayed until 4 a.m., so we spent most of the night in the airport. We arrived here (at the golf course) just before 10 a.m. ‑ actually probably around 9 a.m. in the morning – and Brian, my caddie, went out and looked at the course a little bit, and I got some rest, and then was ready to play at 2 p.m.”
Despite the less than ideal travel arrangements, Henderson was 1-under thru 13 holes when her Monday qualifying round was suspended due to inclement weather at Las Colinas Country Club.
Henderson finished her round Tuesday at 1-under 70 to head into a four-person playoff. She sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole to take the final qualifying spot.
“On the first playoff hole I gave myself a good look at birdie, was probably 15 feet straight up the hill,” she descibed. “I saw a little more break in it than it was, and then I was lucky. On the second playoff hole I was a foot away from where I was the previous time, so I knew the break a lot better and was able to make it.”
When asked about the wealth of encouragement she has received from her home country, Henderson reflected pensively on the state of golf in Canada. “The support back home is amazing. I think Canadian golf has been waiting for something. Mike Weir has definitely been a headliner, and there’s been a lot of other great players like Graham DeLaet and David Hearn and Brad Fritsch that have come up on the men’s side, and then of course Lorie Kane, Alena Sharp, and a few other young pros that are starting to make their way onto the Tour now.
“But I think over the last couple years, the amateur teams have been playing really well. Last year, Corey Conners and I, we were both finalists in the U.S. Amateur, and that had only happened once before, and it was pretty cool. I think the interest in Canada is continuing to grow, and I think golf in Canada is growing pretty rapidly.”
Henderson will join fellow Canadians Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Alena Sharp, Jennifer Kirby and Sue Kim in the North Texas Shootout field.