Brooke Henderson at the Pelican Women's Championship at Pelican Golf Club (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
BELLEAIR, Fla. – Brooke Henderson finished the Pelican Women’s Championship at 14 under, earning her the fifth position on the leaderboard. The performance was her seventh top-ten finish of the year.
“It was a really nice week and it’s nice to finish off well today,” said Henderson. “I made a lot of birdies and it got really tough there on the back nine with strong gusts of wind so you know I’m happy to shoot 500 today and climb up the leaderboard. Hopefully it’s a good sign for next week.”
Henderson is set to compete next in the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla.
Fellow Canadian Alena Sharp fired a 69 to wind up 3-under 277 in a tie for 52nd.
American Kelly Korda came out on top after a four-way playoff.
Henderson learned from pared down 2020 season, but excited for busier 2021
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Canadian Press with files from Golf Canada
Brooke Henderson’s breakneck pace of nearly 30 tournaments a season was slashed to a pedestrian 10 in 2020 due to COVID-19.
But the 23-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., said she found a silver lining in the slow year.
“Only playing 10 events last year kind of taught me how to prepare for events a little bit differently, because I was having more breaks naturally that I wasn’t used to having,” Henderson said Tuesday. “So, it kind of taught me how to prepare on those off-weeks to still perform well, when I was (eventually) back out competing.”
Henderson is in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the LPGA Tournament of Champions which begins Thursday. She hopes it’s the start of a busier 2021 season, but she also plans to pace herself, particularly as the global pandemic still rages across the U.S.
“I’ve definitely sat down with my dad (Dave, who’s her coach) and looked through the schedule, it’s hard to say right now, you never really know what’s going to happen with COVID. God forbid if it got worse or something,” she said. “So, you have to be a little bit prepared to maybe take some events off that you don’t want to, but at the same time, we have a game plan and I’m really looking forward to playing this week . . . and take it from there.”
Henderson is back after a brief off-season. She was seventh at the CME Group Tour Championship, which ended five days before Christmas, then flew home to spend the holiday with her family. A dump of snow in Smiths Falls, plus the required quarantine at home, meant she didn’t get much training in over the break.
“But at the same time, it was kind of nice to take a break and kind of get refreshed for 2021,” she said.
The highlight of her visit home was ice skating on a lake.
“Took me back to when I was really young, spending Januarys in Canada,” she said.
This week’s Tournament of Champions is a glitzy fun event featuring 25 pros and 50 celebrities, with a US$1.2-million purse over 72 holes and no cut. Henderson said she chatted with former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who she plays with on Thursday, on the range.
“It is really fun though seeing all the celebrities, it’s a different atmosphere than just a regular Tour event,” she said.
“We’ll definitely miss the fans this year, because it’s always a huge part of this event. But I’m still looking forward to the opportunity just to getting to know some of these celebrities a little bit more, I always enjoy playing with them.”
Henderson had six top-10 finishes in the pared-down season, and is ranked No. 6 in the world.
“I’m really proud to be in the top-10,” she said. “It’s hard because a lot of people ask me about trying to become world No. 1, and it’s not necessarily a huge goal of mine right now. Obviously I would love to move up in the world rankings, but I’m just trying to take a tournament by tournament and small goals along the way. If I finally get the opportunity to compete for that No. 1 spot, I’ll definitely try my best.”
Henderson won’t play again until the second stop on the tour calendar which tees off Feb. 25 in Orlando. The schedule _ if the global pandemic co-operates _ then gets busy. She’s already secured a spot on the team for the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed a year.
She’s also keen to play in the CP Women’s Open, which was one of the numerous events erased by COVID-19 in 2020. The 2020 host Shaughnessy Golf and Country in Vancouver will get the chance to hold the Canadian stop this August.
“I’m really excited, the way the schedule looks this year, looks really healthy. And, hopefully I’ll be able to compete in many more tournaments and hopefully get back on to my winning streak.”
Golf Journalists Association of Canada names its Players of the Year for 2020
Mackenzie Hughes (Getty Images)
TORONTO – In a year unlike any other, which included the PGA TOUR’s longest hiatus since World War II due to Covid-19, a record number (7) Canadians held PGA TOUR status while the country as a whole impressed across both the amateur and professional ranks.
The Golf Journalists Association of Canada (GJAC) is proud to announce Brooke Henderson, Mackenzie Hughes, Laurent Desmarchais and Brigitte Thibault as the 2020 Players of the Year as voted by GJAC members across the country. Along with the player awards, the surge in popularity in golf across Canada was voted as the story of the year.
“Each year, GJAC is proud to recognize and applaud the incredible performances by Canadian professional and amateur players,” said Rick Young, GJAC President. “While 2020 was a difficult year, players across Canada continue to record performances that make covering their achievements and telling the stories behind them a joy for our members.”
After claiming two wins in 2019 to become the winningest Canadian golfer of all time, Henderson continued to make headlines in 2020, making all but one cut on the LPGA Tour, including five top-10 finishes and a runner-up showing at the ANA Inspirational. The 23-year old finished the season with the second-lowest scoring average on Tour (69.7) and is currently the sixth-ranked female professional player in the world.
Mackenzie Hughes was named Male Professional of the Year after recording his best season to date, earning six top-10 PGA TOUR finishes in 22 starts. The 30-year old’s season was highlighted by a runner-up finish at the Honda Classic, where he posted 66 in both the third and final round, and the Tour Championship, where he finished in 14th place in the FedEx Cup standings, the best of any Canadian since 2013 (Grahem DeLaet, 8th).
For the second-consecutive year, Rosemére, Quebec’s Brigitte Thibault earned honours as Female Amateur of the Year after another standout season that included wins at the Women’s Western Amateur and the Women’s Dixie Amateur. In addition, Thibault earned two top-3 collegiate finishes with the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Finally, Longueuil, Quebec’s Laurent Desmarchais was named Male Amateur of the Year after claiming a victory over both amateurs and professionals in the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s Canada Life Series Championship at TPC Toronto. In addition, Desmarchais was named to the Golf Canada’s National Amateur team due to his standout play.
Henderson withdraws from Portland Classic due to poor air quality
Brooke Henderson (Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Canada’s Brooke Henderson withdrew from the LPGA Tour’s Cambia Portland Classic on Monday due to poor air quality.
Henderson told The Canadian Press that she was withdrawing shortly after the LPGA shut down the course and practice facilities. A dense smoke advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. local time in the city of Portland, Ore., due to wildfires raging through California, Oregon, and Washington.
“I felt it was unsafe to go and play in Portland this week with the air quality and the close proximity of the fires,” said Henderson.
Henderson tied for second at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday after an exciting playoff against Nelly Korda and eventual winner Mirim Lee in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It was her third tournament after the LPGA’s restart and the second major of the tour’s condensed season.
The product of Smiths Falls, Ont., was looking forward to playing at Columbia Edgewater Country Club this week as she has won two of her nine LPGA titles at the Portland Classic.
“I feel like my game’s in a really good spot coming off the weekend and Portland’s always been a special place to me,” said Henderson, who won in 2015 and 2016. “I’m usually in contention at some point during the week, even in the years I don’t win.
“It was definitely a tough decision but I feel like it was the right one, given the circumstances.”
Henderson, whose nine LPGA titles are the most professional golf wins for a Canadian of any gender, intends to fly back to her home in Florida before playing in the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J., Oct. 1-4.
The 23-year-old skipped the Australian leg of the season early in 2020 and then the LPGA Tour cancelled its swing through Asia as the COVID-19 pandemic spread from Wuhan, China.
Play on tour resumed with the inaugural Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, on July 31 but Henderson decided to sit out until the Women’s British Open on Aug. 20 at Royal Troon Old Course in Scotland, where she missed the cut.
She then tied for 49th at the NW Arkansas Championship on Aug. 30 before her strong finish at the ANA Inspiration.
“In terms of COVID, I feel like the LPGA’s done a great job and we feel safe,” said Henderson. “It’s just unfortunate because the entire west coast is burning up. Air quality is not good and it’s very scary for all the residents here.”
Henderson closes with T2 result in wild finish at ANA Inspiration
Brooke Henderson (Getty Images)
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Mirim Lee chipped in three times Sunday, the last one for eagle on the final hole that got her into a three-way playoff at the ANA Inspiration that she won on the first extra hole with a birdie.
It was another wild finish in the LPGA major that moved from the first weekend of April to the 100-degree heat of September, and no one was more surprised than the 29-year-old Lee.
She was never in the lead at any point until she calmly holed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th to beat Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson, who each had the lead on the back nine.
“Yeah, I definitely played really well this week, which is definitely a really nice feeling and definitely gives me confidence moving forward,” said Henderson. “I felt like I missed a lot of putts, especially those final rounds where I feel like maybe it could have been a different story, but Mirim and Nelly played great, and I really fought my way around, so I’m happy.”
Lee pitched in from long range for par on the 16th, dropped a shot on the next hole and appeared to be out of it until her chip from behind the 18th green rammed against the pin and dropped for eagle and a 5-under 67.
Korda, the 22-year-old American going for her first major, had a two-shot lead with four holes to play and couldn’t hold it. With a one-shot lead going to the par-5 18th, Korda missed the fairway, had to lay up and missed the green to the right, having to scramble for par and a 69 just to match Lee at 15-under 273
Henderson lost the lead with a double bogey on the 13th hole that nearly cost her. But she birdied the 16th and was saved by the wall, a blue-covered structure behind the 18th that kept her second shot on the 18th from running through the green and into the water behind the island green.
She got up-and-down for birdie and a 69 to join the playoff.
On the first extra hole, Korda again missed the fairway and had to lay up, and her wedge was 25 feet short for a birdie putt that never had a chance. Henderson’s second shot came up just short, and she used putter for her eagle attempt that rolled out some 7 feet past the cup on the sun-baked, fast greens of Mission Hills. Her birdie putt missed on the left side.
Lee hit 5-wood just over the back of the putting surface, chipped to 5 feet and made the winner.
Even with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 staying home because of travel concerns with the coronavirus, Lee made it 10 consecutive years with a South Korea winning a major.
It was her fourth LPGA Tour victory, and first since the Kia Classic three years ago.
Her victory spared more conversation about the blue wall behind the 18th green, which the tournament erected in place of a hospitality chalet that was not needed this year because there were no spectators.
It was talked about all week, and the chalet in a normal year has blocked shots hit too hard. But it nearly decided the tournament. Henderson was one shot behind with her ball sitting up in the rough on the 18th in regulation. She hit 5-wood through the green and under the blue bunting, allowing for a drop.
She chipped down to 2 feet for birdie to join the three-way playoff.
Henderson needed a break after having to spend the final hour trying to catch up to Korda. The Canadian took her only lead on the 12th hole when Korda made bogey, and it didn’t last long.
Henderson drove into the right rough on the 13th and 6-iron in the wrong place – right again, with a bunker guarding the front right pin. She flopped that into the bunker and didn’t get up-and-down, leading to double bogey.
Korda answered with a tee shot into 5 feet for birdie on the par-3 14th, and suddenly her lead was at two. But she couldn’t hang on. Henderson’s 8-foot birdie putt curled in the left side of the cup on No. 16 with perfect speed. Korda held onto the lead at the 17th with an 8-foot par putt, and that set up the big finish on the 18th.
Through it all, Lee was an afterthought until her stunning finish.
She already chipped in for birdie from short of the green at No. 6. Lee gave herself a chance by pitching in from short of the 16th green to a back pin. And after a bogey on the 17th, she went long of the 18th and chipped in for eagle, dropping her head with a soft smile in disbelief.
Lexi Thompson, going after a second title at Mission Hills, was never a serious factor after bogeys that slowed her momentum. She closed with two birdies on her last three holes for a 69 to finish two shots out of the playoff.
U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Rose Zhang birdied the 18th for a 72 to tie for 11th. She finished at 8-under 280, setting the record for lowest score by an amateur.
Henderson charges into a share of lead at ANA Inspiration
Brooke Henderson (Getty Images)
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Canadian Brooke Henderson tied a Mission Hills record with a 30 on the front nine and did just enough the rest of the round Saturday for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Nelly Korda in the ANA Inspiration.
Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., started the weekend six shots behind and wanted only to get as close to the lead as possible. Now she goes into the final round with a second major championship in her sights.
Korda began with a two-shot lead and fell three shots back with a rough stretch on the front nine, particularly the sixth hole by hitting 5-wood through the fairway into the gnarly rough and not getting over the water, leading to double bogey.
She rallied with three birdies on the back nine, however, for a 71 that allowed her to join Henderson at 12-under 204.
Brooke was on 🔥 with the low round of the day to grab a share of the lead
They have a two-shot lead over Lexi Thompson (69), Mirim Lee (71) and Katherine Kirk, who quietly went about her business with a 67 that landed the Australian in the final group.
“Sort of an easy start which was nice, and relaxed a little bit,” Henderson said. “Being moving day, I wanted to get a solid round out there and try to climb the leaderboard as much as possible. Still a lot of golf to be played, but nice to see my name up there. And hopefully, tomorrow I can post a similar round.”
It was the hottest day of the tournament, the temperature climbing just past 100 degrees late in the day, helped by a mild haze from California fires that kept the sun from burning brighter. Korda was among those with an umbrella on the back nine to fend off the sun.
Korda, the 22-year-old going for her first major, began to claw her way back with a birdie on the par-5 11th, a gap wedge to 3 feet for birdie on the 12th and a pitching wedge just over the bunker that rolled out to 5 feet for birdie on the 15th, regaining a share of the lead.
She laid up on the par-5 18th but left her wedge about 18 feet above the hole and had to settle for a par.
Thompson, four behind to start the round, got back in the game quickly with a two-shot swing on Korda on consecutive holes. Thompson holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fifth, where Korda three-putted for bogey, and then Korda made her double bogey on the next hole. Thompson hit a short wedge to a foot to close out the back nine and appeared to be making her move.
Instead, that was the last birdie she made. Her best putt was a 15-footer for par on No. 13. She was among the few who went for the green on the 18th, sending it to the right and under the chair of a cameraman. She made a bold pitch down the hill to 5 feet and missed the birdie putt.
Ten players were separated by four shots, a group that included Carlota Ciganda at 9-under 207 and former Mission Hills winner Stacy Lewis another shot back.
Also at 8-under 208 was U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Rose Zhang, who shot a 68. The 17-year-old won the Amateur last month over Gabriela Ruffels, who was at 6-under 210 in a strong showing by amateurs this week.
Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (73) was tied for 62nd.
Henderson began her round by missing a short birdie putt, which annoyed her only up until a 3-wood on the next hole to 12 feet that led to eagle, and she was on her way. She closed out her front nine with a pitch to 2 feet for birdie and a 30, and was only disappointed she didn’t pick up more on the back nine.
No matter. She was tied for the lead, more than she would have expected when she teed off. And while the Canadian viewed this round as moving day, Sunday might not be much different with so many players still in the mix.
That includes Kirk, a 38-year-old Aussie with three LPGA victories and one runner-up in her previous 59 appearances in major championships. She opened with two quick birdies and did enough to think about what it would be like to win the ANA Inspiration and take the plunge into Popie’s Pond around the 18th green.
“It’s so stinking hot out here and it would be great to cool off,” Kirk said. “I have a lot of hard work, and there are a lot of great players on the leaderboard so I’m probably going to have to go low tomorrow and it’s going to take a really good number. But anything is possible in this game.”
Henderson tied for 7th heading into weekend at ANA Inspiration
Brooke Henderson (Getty Images)
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – The numbers suggested a stress-free time in the desert for Nelly Korda, who had five birdies and a clean card Friday for a 5-under 67 to build a two-shot lead going into the hot weekend at the ANA Inspiration.
All she could think about were two pars.
The only fairway she missed was on her 11th hole, the par-5 second, and she was badly out of position the entire way until making an 18-foot par putt to escape her big mess. One hole later, after hitting a fat shot from the fairway, she again had to make a par putt from some 25 feet.
“I did not know what I was doing on those two holes,” Korda said. “I was happy those two went in. Golf is just all about momentum, so you roll one in here and there and it just makes it a lot easier.”
It only figures to get harder from here.
Korda was at 11-under 133, two shots clear of Mirim Lee, who also played bogey-free in the rising heat for a 65. Joining them in the final group is a daunting figure in these parts, Lexi Thompson, a past champion at Mission Hills who can overpower the Dinah Shore course.
Thompson made up ground quickly with three birdies in a four-hole stretch at the start of her round, including a 4-iron from 220 yards to 6 feet on the par-5 second (she missed the eagle putt) and a 9-iron from 164 yards on the par-3 fifth that led to a 15-foot birdie.
With the tee moved up on the par-5 18th, she swung for the fences and nearly pulled it into the lake, saved by the September date because the ball sinks instead of rolls in the Bermuda rough. She settled for par and a 67 to finish four shots behind, along with Nanna Koertz Madsen (69).
“I left a few out there, but also I made a lot of good putts,” Thompson said.
Brooke Henderson (71) of Smiths Falls, Ont., was tied for seventh at 5 under, six shots back of Korda. Hamilton’s Alena Sharp (71) was tied for 61st at 2 over.
Danielle Kang looked poised to join the chase, a big week because she is projected to reach No. 1 in the world with a victory. Her momentum was slowed by bugs, a brick wall and a bridge.
Kang came in too steep on a wedge from the 10th fairway and was 10 feet short of the green. She opted to use her putter, but backed off three times from bugs flying around her face. Then, she left it 7 feet short and missed the par putt. She stalked to the back of the green, clearly annoyed, and it didn’t help when she and Anna Nordqvist were put on the clock.
Kang was out of sorts, quickly walking after missed putts. On the 15th, she pulled her tee shot near a wall, and after asking if she could get relief – it was a boundary wall, so no – she hit into the wall trying to get it back to the fairway. It went only about 10 yards, and she had to scramble for bogey.
And then on the 18th, her approach ran through the green and just onto the carpet-lined bridge across Poppie’s Pond. She pitched off the bridge to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt for a 71. She was six shots back, still in the mix.
Korda, however, has looked solid. Thompson’s name on the board stands out given her power and record at Mission Hills.
Korda hit 13 fairways, not the most difficult task with the lush Bermuda grass cutting back how much the ball rolls. More impressive was missing only four greens, and taking 26 putts on greens already sun-baked and fast.
“Definitely very happy with my putting today, and I was superbly happy with bogey-free,” she said.
She picked up two birdies on the par 3s on the back nine and looked like she might give those shots back when she tugged her tee shot on No. 2. She considered taking a drop from the cart path until realizing she would be thick rough, so she hit 4-hybrid some 30 yards out to the right, leaving her no angle.
“Near dead over there,” she said. “Honestly, I was super happy with rolling that putt in. I was like, ‘Just get me off this hole.”
The greens were pure in the morning, though getting the speed right was critical because they are rolling out a few extra feet, putting an even greater premium on pace.
“The thing out here is you hit a solid putt and it keeps on going,” Korda said. “You think it’s going to stop, and it just keeps on releasing, so then you’re like, `This is a good putt, this could possibly go in,’ and then it releases 5 to 6 feet because that’s just how it is out here. I had a lot of 5- and 6-footers for par today.”
And she made them all. That decision to change to a left-hand low grip at the Women’s British Open three weeks ago at Royal Troon looks like the right move. And her confidence is soaring.
The temperatures are trending that direction, too, with a forecast of around 105 to 110 degrees for the weekend.
The weekend will include five of the six amateurs, tying a record at this event. Leading the way was Gabriela Ruffels at 5 under, with Rose Zhang another shot back. Zhang won the U.S. Women’s Amateur last month to deny Ruffels back-to-back wins.
Brooke Henderson targets Women’s British Open for her return to LPGA Tour
Brooke Henderson (Getty Images)
John Chidley-Hill/ Canadian Press
Brooke Henderson has set her sights on the British Women’s Open.
One of the biggest names in women’s golf and the most successful pro player in Canadian history, Henderson has been out of competitive play for nearly seven months. At first it was intentional, as the No. 7 women’s golfer in the world had previously decided to sit out the LPGA Tour’s Australian leg, but then the COVID-19 pandemic began and the circuit suspended play.
“It’s been a very long break, especially for me,” said the 22-year-old Henderson from her family cottage. “I think it’s been the longest I’ve gone without playing competitively since maybe I was in elementary school.
“It’s been a big change for me but I’m very excited to get back out there. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of adrenalin on that first tee.”
Henderson tied for fourth at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions with an overall score of 12 under on Jan. 16 and then a week later she tied for 15th in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio.
But those two tournaments have been it so far for Henderson, who lives in Florida but repatriated to her parents’ home in Smiths Falls, Ont., early in the pandemic.
“I’ve enjoyed staying put and not travelling and not being exposed as much the last few months,” said Henderson, who quarantined herself for 14 days before moving back in with her parents. “I’ll be staying here until the British and then after the British I’ll be playing a few more events and getting out there more.”
The Women’s British Open begins on Aug. 20 at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. It will be the first major of the LPGA Tour’s season after the Evian Championship, originally scheduled for Aug. 6-9, was cancelled.
The LPGA Tour resumes its schedule on Thursday with the first-ever Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio. Henderson will miss it, the Marathon Classic Aug. 6-9 and the Ladies Scottish Open Aug. 13-16.
Henderson, who has played a rigorous schedule since turning pro in 2015, has enjoyed the break.
“I’ve read a lot of books, I was able to work out more than I do when I’m out on Tour,” said Henderson, whose sister/caddy Brittany stayed at their home in Florida. “I learned to cook way better, which is really exciting. I spent a lot of quality time with my mom and dad since I’ve been home.
“It’s been a nice break, in a way, I just wish the break happened but that it could have happened without affecting everyone.”
Henderson and Hamilton’s Alena Sharp would have left for Japan this week to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the second time the pair would have represented Canada in women’s golf.
“(Tokyo) is something to look forward to next year,” said Henderson. “Obviously it was a very smart decision they made to move it to 2021. Hopefully by then it is safe to play and it’s not postponed another year.
“I really enjoyed playing last time in Rio in 2016. It’s definitely an honour.”
Henderson recharged heading into LPGA season opener
Brooke Henderson (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
LPGA Tour Communications
Brooke Henderson ended 2019 on a high note with a fifth-place finish at the CME Group Tour Championship and took a much-deserved break in the offseason, enjoying the warm weather at her residence in Florida and visiting her friends and family in her native Canada. It was a perfect time for the 22-year-old to reflect on a triumphant year that included becoming the Canadian with the most professional wins on the LPGA and PGA Tour when she won the Meijer LPGA Classic for her ninth career victory.
“I feel like 2019 was a really successful season for me and my sister (and caddie Brittany Henderson) as well,” said Henderson. “We were really happy with how everything went. I felt like I improved in a lot of places, which was good. I think a key thing for me is scoring average and keeping it below 70, which I did last year.”
Henderson returns to action at the biggest party on Tour at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, alongside a host of Hall of Fame athletes and celebrities. Despite the fun nature of the week, she said it still feels just as competitive on the course as it does at any other event.
“I feel like playing with some of the best athletes in the world here, you’re just always pushing each other to be a little bit better and trying to hit a little bit further and make a few more birdies,” said Henderson, who finished T6 in the inaugural tournament in 2019. “It’s really a unique experience as it’s maybe not as intense right off the get go, as it is on the regular LPGA Tour week, but definitely it has that same intensity once you get going, and it has maybe a little bit of fun added to it.”
With the start of season play just a few days away, Henderson said she is already prepped to execute her 2020 goals, which includes continuing her streak of four straight years with at least two wins.
“I’d love to keep that streak alive. It’s been pretty important to me the last few years, especially with how dense the field is in terms of talent,” said Henderson. “It’s really important to me to keep that going, and I feel like to get another major championship win is hopefully on my radar, and hopefully I can get it done maybe this year and in future years.”
Henderson voted as 2019 LPGA Founders Award winner
Brooke Henderson (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Adam Stanley/ Golf Canada
In a comfortable floral jumpsuit and with her parents in the audience, Brooke Henderson added another award to her ever-growing trophy case.
The 22-year-old won the 2019 Founders Award at the Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony Thursday night in Naples, Fla. during the week of the CME Group Tour Championship.
The Founders Award is newly named for 2019. Formerly called the William & Mousie Powell Award, it was renamed for this year to celebrate the 13 founders of the LPGA.
Henderson told golfcanada.ca that the win was extra special since the winner of the award comes from a vote by fellow golfers on the LPGA Tour. It’s annually given to, in the opinion of her peers, someone “whose behaviour and deeds best exemplifies the spirit, ideals, and values of the LPGA.”
The nine-time LPGA Tour winner said she first found out at an LPGA Tour Players’ Meeting earlier in the year that she was one of the nominees, and said to know people were voting for her was ‘pretty crazy.’
“It means a lot,” Henderson said. “I spend so much time with these girls that it’s really a great honour to be given the Founders Award.
“To be considered in the same sentence as (the founders)… their passion and perseverance and what they did this Tour was amazing. This is really cool for me.”
Henderson has made a habit of capturing awards-by-votes in 2019.
Earlier in the year she became the first Canadian golfer to win an ESPY award (she won for ‘Best Female Golfer’) and in October she won the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame People’s Choice Award – a new award designed to recognize ‘future Hall of Famers who are a champion of their sport and a champion for their community.’
“This year has been really crazy for the awards. I didn’t expect any of them,” Henderson said, flashing her recognizable smile. “To get them is just amazing. I’m honoured, humbled… and it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Henderson, who sat at a table with Lexi Thompson and executives from Rolex at the awards dinner, has won twice in 2019. Her victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic was the ninth in her young career. Win no. 9 gave her more than any other Canadian in the history of the LPGA or PGA Tour.
“This award that Brooke got is maybe one of the most special ones because it’s voted on by her peers and we’re so impressed and thrilled for Brooke to be recognized. We know how special she is,” said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. “For all of her peers on the LPGA Tour to give her this award is phenomenal. It’s great for herself and her family and for all of Canadian golf.”
The native of Smiths Falls, Ont. has become a driving force for young golfers across the country – but even this week in Florida there are plenty of girls dressing with a visor and ponytail like Henderson walking outside the ropes – and she said being able to play in front of Canadians no matter where she goes makes her even more grateful for the support.
Henderson said she’s recognized her role and is happy to have an opportunity to be an inspiration both on the golf course with her record-breaking play, and off the course as well, as someone people can look up to.
“I’m always trying to become a better golfer, but I’m always trying to become a better person every day, too,” said Henderson. “When you work hard and are focused on achieving some goals, good things happen. This year is definitely proof of that.”
2019 CP Women’s Open winner Jin Young Ko was the night’s big winner, as she took home the Rolex Annika Major Award, and Rolex Player of the Year. With just three rounds left in the LPGA Tour season, she has nearly wrapped up the Vare Trophy (for lowest scoring average) as well.
Henderson sits T5 after the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship.