With her tie for eighth at the LPGA Keb Hana Bank Championship in South Korea, Brooke Henderson moved up a spot in the latest world rankings to 10th place.
Remember when there was concern earlier this season that Henderson was off her torrid pace of the year before, her first full season on tour, which she began with top 10s in eight consecutive LPGA Tour events after her first start of the year?
This year, her first top-10 finish didn’t come until her fourth event of the season and her second didn’t come until her 10th event, which took place in May, but Henderson didn’t succumb to paralysis by analysis through the increasing speculation about her game.
To be fair, the concern wasn’t deafening, but enough to have her second-guessing herself if she had let it, but she didn’t. Instead, she answered any questions calmly and just worked her way through an inevitable patch when the results weren’t coming. There are few tour players who can say such a stretch never happened to them.
Her third top 10 of the season was a victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic and her second win of the year came just over two weeks ago in New Zealand. That equaled her win total of last year and while some might point out that there was no major in there, let’s not forget she was just one shot off the winning score in her defence of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Henderson’s seven top-10 finishes thus far aren’t close to the 15 she had all of last year, but she could continue to close the gap in the final five events of the season. All indications are that she will play 31 events this year, the same number she did last year, and she’s only missed two cuts in 2017.
At the same time, she’s second in birdies this year with 356 and fourth on the money list with $1,399,905, compared to third at the end of last season ($1,724,420) and who’s to say what will happen the rest of the way?
There was really nothing wrong earlier this season when the comparisons to last year made Henderson a victim of her own success in 2016, but she came out of its unscathed and, at age 20, is back on track, perhaps in part due to the steadying influence of sister Brittany on her bag and the presence of the rest of her family throughout the season.
Whatever the reason, she has proven that getting into a stretch of tournaments where top 10s or wins aren’t coming isn’t all that rare. The duration of such stretches depends on how you respond to them and knowing any perceived problem can end just as quickly as it arrived if you just pay attention to the immediate task at hand.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., leads the LPGA Tour in average driving distance at 279.256 yards … Toronto’s Vanesa Borovilos has qualified for the Girls 10-11 age group final at the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt national finals, which will take place prior to the Masters at Augusta National. It will her third trip to the finals. Also among 80 finalists announced is Landon Kelly of Bobcaygeon, Ont. Both Ontario golfers qualified at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. … Graham DeLaet, Adam Hadwin and Mackenzie Hughes are at this week’s inaugural CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges in South Korea. Nick Taylor starts the week as an alternate … On the LPGA Tour, Henderson and Alena Sharp are at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship … The PGA Tour Champions schedule continues this week in Richmond, Va., where Stephen Ames and Rod Spittle are at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic … A convincing majority of respondents to last week’s GNN Poll voted no when we asked if they felt the golf operation where they work had received enough information to properly deal with legalized use of marijuana on premises. That was the feeling of 91 per cent of voters, while only nine per cent said yes … This week’s poll is a Part B as we ask if businesses should have the right to ban the use of marijuana on their premises, even if it is a legal product. As of this writing, 73 per cent said yes, with 27 per cent voting no. If you haven’t already cast your vote, you can do so on the GNN home page.