When all is said and done at this week’s CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., Brooke Henderson will have played 30 events on the LPGA Tour, just one less than a busy and wildly-successful first full year on tour in 2016.
It’s a pace she enjoys and that’s understandable at 20 years old.
“I love traveling with my older sister, Brittany, who also caddies for me. To be able to travel around the world is really cool for us, to get to go over to Asia for four weeks,” said Henderson, who is ranked 13th in the world this week.
“We took last week off, so we were here in North America and got adjusted to the time change, took a week to relax and get rested because I knew this week was going to be a big one.” she said.
“I feel like my game is in a great spot. Travel is kind of tough at times, but I think just the adrenaline of new places all the time really keeps us going,” she said.
Indeed this week is a big one for her. Not only is she looking at grabbing a big chunk of the $2.5-million purse this week in Naples, she comes in fifth in the Race to the CME Globe standings, which puts her in contention to win that overall title and the $1-million prize that goes along with it.
“It was a big goal of mine to get into the top five and to give myself the chance to control my own destiny this week. I’m very happy to be in that fifth position. I know there are very talented players ahead of me and behind me chasing that money box,” she said.
“For me to win this week, basically I have to win if I want to win the Race to the CME Globe. Maybe (the players ahead of her) are feeling a little bit more pressure. For me, I know I have to play really good golf over the next four days,” said Henderson.
“You can’t force it too much, just got to be patient and trust in the plans and all the preparation that we have done thus far for this week. Hopefully, I’ll make it something special,” she added.
If she does, it will nicely cap off a season that began with some concerned that she didn’t bolt from the gate as she did the year before when Henderson compiled 15 top 10s, including a major championship at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and a successful title defence at the Cambia Portland Classic.
Henderson put to rest those early season fears as her eight top 10s this year included wins at the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open and the Meijer LPGA Classic. She also very nearly defended her major championship, finishing just one shot behind winner Danielle Kang.
“I believe it was a great follow up to last year. I had really a miracle season or the perfect season last year. So many things went perfect for me. This year I kind of battled through a little bit more, a little bit more up and down,” said Henderson, who is second in tour birdies.
“To get two wins out here with the amount of talented players and the consistency that’s out here on the LPGA Tour, I’m really proud of that.” she said.
“I would love to get my third win this week. I feel like the last few days, my team, we’ve really worked hard on a good strategy, good plan in getting my game ready. Now, it’s just up to me the next four days,” she added.
“Mentally, I think I’m a lot stronger than I was last year, which is a big improvement,” said Henderson.
“It’s a lifelong process I do believe. I feel like I saw a big improvement last year to this year, just shifting my focuses to what’s important and throwing away things that really don’t matter that much,” she said.
For that reason, she’s talking about game plans and patience instead of counting the money or thinking about finishing the season with her third win, as tempting as that may be with so much cash on the line.
“I really haven’t thought about it too much, just going to focus on the next four days,” said Henderson.