PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — It might have been a bit of a frustrating 73.
It might have been a smile-inspiring 67.
Under the desert sun at Mission Hills at the ANA Inspiration, Brooke Henderson, with sister Brittany on the bag, experienced both at the first major of the golf season.
The results on the course may vary, but not the constant for the Henderson girls: the smile from mom Darlene when they walked off the 18th green and across the bridge over Poppie’s Pond.
Darlene was there making her way around the course to root her daughters on to another top 10 finish. She made her way from tree to tree, pausing in the shade to check on the girls’ progress, all the while accepting greetings from fellow Canadians, gushing with pride.
Darlene and husband Dave spent three weeks on the road with Brooke and Brittany as they drove across the U.S. southwest (in a sweet ride, a BMW 7 Series, one of Brooke’s corporate partners) for the LPGA’s tour through Phoenix and Southern California and to the desert.
It’s not just on Mother’s Day that Brooke appreciates what her mom has done to help her on her remarkable journey which has seen the 18-year-old rise to become the fifth-ranked player in the Rolex World Rankings.
“We owe a lot to our mom, both Britt and I, for everything that she’s sacrificed and everything that she’s done for us,” Henderson said. “She’s our No. 1 fan and our No. 1 support system. We love having her on trips and even when she’s back home, we can always count on her for a late night text or anything like that.
“We’re grateful for everything she does and what she continues to do.”
No matter how it’s gone on the course, Brooke said things don’t change when it comes to your mom.
“You’re still No. 1 in her heart,” she said.
Over behind the ninth green at Mission Hills, just after completing a fine opening round 70 in very windy conditions, Hamilton’s Alena Sharp reflected on a similar theme.
She doesn’t get to see her mother, Pat, a nurse back in Hamilton, often enough, but knows the support is there.
“My mom has been there from Day One. She would always take me to soccer practice, hockey practice, golf. She’s a big part of my career,” said Sharp. “I saw her a couple of weeks ago. I just don’t get to see my parents that much so it’s nice to spend time with them when I can.
“My mom’s been amazing, always there no matter what, whether it’s good or bad. She’s there with me when I’m crying because I’m frustrated and is there when I’ve played well. It’s nice to have that support.”
Has Alena inherited any qualities from Pat?
“She’s got a lot of patience. That’s huge. She’s a nurse. She’s forty years in nursing and going to retire this year. She has a lot of patience. She doesn’t let things get to her too much. That’s a huge thing that I see. She always goes out of her way to make you happy. If you need something, she’s going to do her best to get it for you.”
So, did that patience rub off?
Said Sharp, “I try to be patient.”