What will benefit Brooke Henderson the most after taking her third LPGA Tour victory in less than a year with a successful title defence at the Cambia Portland Classic on Sunday is that she is winning in different ways.
Her four-shot margin of victory over the rest of the field may sound decisive, but it was actually a grind as she made the turn with just a one-shot lead on a surging Mariajo Uribe, who actually tied Henderson at 14 under with a birdie on 11.
Uribe, however, would bogey the next hole, which Henderson birdied to put her up by two before taking a bogey herself on the 13th to cut the margin to one again. However, Uribe would add another bogey and two doubles to finish with a 75 that left her tied for fourth.
Stacy Lewis, the former No. 1 player in the world, shot a three-under 69 to finish second at 10 under, while Henderson parred her way in after the bogey on 13 to finish with a 71 that left her at 14 under.
The victory moved Henderson to third on the list of all-time wins by Canadians, tying her with Dawn Coe-Jones and Lisa Walters, all with three victories. Lorie Kane has four, while Sandra Post leads with eight.
The grind that she experienced Sunday was considerably different from her domination at this event in 2015, which she won by eight shots. In her recent major championship at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she came from behind to force a playoff with world No. 1 Lydia Ko, which she won.
“It did feel really different than both of those. It’s kind of cool to think that I’ve won three different ways,” said Henderson.
“Today was kind of strange. I wasn’t on fire, but I wasn’t playing awful. I was just kind of, I guess, staying patient and just kind letting things happen as they are supposed to,” she said.
“I didn’t really play my best today, but I hit good shots when I needed to and got some good breaks, too. That’s always really nice,” she added.
“It was really tight all day until I looked at the scoreboard on 17 and saw that I was going to have quite a big lead going into the last hole. That was definitely very comforting,” said Henderson.
“To be back here in Portland, it’s so beautiful. To repeat and try to defend a championship for the first time and be able to do it is, I think, a really big deal,” she said.
There have been several big deals in the less than two years since she turned professional and under one year since she earned tour membership with her initial win in Portland last year.
Her road show lands Henderson at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., for the next major championship, the U.S. Women’s Open. She will arrive with considerable momentum, not only with the win in Portland, but as the last player to win a major.
The way she won on Sunday may also be to her advantage.
“Getting the major championship win just a couple weeks ago in Washington and knowing that I can win a major championship was definitely a huge momentum-changer, confidence boost,” said Henderson.
“And then coming off a win here, I think it’s really is going to give me a lot of confidence. I know the U.S. Open. It takes a lot of skill, patience and I’m really excited for it,” she said.
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