Brooke Henderson says she just wanted to make the cut at Pinehurst No. 2 and move up the U.S. Women’s leaderboard after that.
Mission accomplished … big time.
Henderson shot a final round, one-under 69 on Sunday to tie for 10th overall and finish as low amateur at five over.
“The best players in the world are here and to know that I’m right up there, it’s really awesome,” said the 16-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont.
“I still have a long way to go to where I want to be in the next couple of years, but it’s really exciting to know that I have the potential and it was a great finish here this week,” added Henderson.
Potential was never in question. Last year, she also made the cut before tying for 59th at the U.S. Women’s Open. Earlier this season, she tied for 26th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the year.
At the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic a couple of weeks ago in Waterloo, Ont., Henderson was six under to tie for 45th. Add in a bunch of amateur titles that she’s won this year and there was no doubt about potential.
What she did at Pinehurst No. 2 took that to a new level.
“I was almost intimidated the first couple days and then, as I got playing and I started to hit the ball really well, I knew where to hit it on the fairways and where to hit it on the greens and I became much more confident,” she said.
“Today, right now, I sort of wish there was another round to go back out there, but next year,” she said.
The future is becoming the present. Potential is turning into reality. Any intimidation about playing with LPGA Tour players has apparently vanished and even the legendary Pinehurst No. 2 couldn’t shake her too much at an event where only champion Michelle Wie finished under par.
After opening with two birdies in her first five holes, Henderson erased those gains with two bogeys on six and seven, but on the back nine, she forged ahead with three birdies in her first four holes.
The only major glitch for Henderson was a double bogey on the 16th hole.
“Ball striking was really big for me today. I made two mistakes off the tee which cost me a double and a bogey, but other than that, I was hitting it really well and had a couple tap-in birdies, which is really nice,” she said.
Henderson got to within four of the lead and did take note of her name on the leaderboard.
“Yeah, I did, but when I was three-under there at one point – I think I was more – I don’t know where, what place I was in, but I saw my name up there, which is nice,” she said.
“I just kept playing. It was exciting for sure to know I was on the leaderboard on Sunday at a major. It’s awesome, but you’ve just got to play your own game and take every shot,” she said.
Being at or near the top of a leaderboard is a place she seems to be enjoying, no matter where or who she’s playing against.
Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., shot a final round 76 and tied for 59th.
For all the scores, click here.