With this week off before she defends a major championship at next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Brooke Henderson’s first victory of the season came with good timing.
Henderson shot a bogey-free, three-under 66 on Sunday to win the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich. At 21 under, Henderson won by two shots over Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.
It’s kind of been a little bit tougher season for me, I haven’t got the results that I’ve been really looking for, but this week, I played really well and things kind of started to turn around for me, so to get my fourth (career) win is super exciting and I’m just excited for the rest of the summer now.
In her first full season, Henderson had 15 top-10 finishes, including a successful title defence at the Cambia Portland Classic and her major title, which was actually played the week before she went to Grand Rapids, where she tied for 21st.
“Last year I was coming off quite a high playing in the major the week before and winning, so the first two days, I think I was really running on adrenaline. Then, I kind of let it slip on the weekend, but that is something that I definitely learned about,” she said.
It was a lesson well-learned as Henderson took only one bogey in her final two rounds in Grand Rapids, with birdies on seven, eight and 11 on Sunday.
“Birdies on seven and eight today were really huge. I wasn’t really doing anything, I was just kind of hanging around at even par, so to get those two to drop was really exciting and gave me some good momentum,” said Henderson.
“Then, I missed a short one on 10, which I would have liked to have, but then I made a great birdie on No. 11,” she said.
“Zero bogeys on a day like today where it was super windy and any day on Sunday, there’s that little bit of extra pressure and you’re in contention, so you want to play really well so you might push a few more shots than you would like., so I’m really happy and I feel like it was a great round, especially with the conditions out there today,” she said.
The victory came on a golf course that took five inches of rain the final two days forcing tournament officials to transform the fifth hole, normally a par five, to a par three due to flooding. As a result, the entire course became a par 69.
“The course superintendent really did an outstanding job with the course. Other than a couple holes, you would never know it was that much rain,” said Henderson.
“The course was playing really firm and fast the first two days and then the last two, a lot softer. You could attack more pins, the greens were just naturally a little bit slower,” she added.
“I’m really happy that I was able to adjust with the conditions and kind of win different ways. I scored really well the first two days when it was really firm and fast and I didn’t score quite as well but I played extremely well in really windy conditions today, so I kind of adjusted really well,” she said.
I think (sister/caddie Brittany) did an outstanding job as well with giving me good numbers and kind of giving me, `This one’s going to hold, this one’s going to release.’ It really helped me out,” said Henderson.
Her fourth career victory moves Henderson into a tie for second with Lorie Kane in all-time LPGA Tour wins by Canadians. Sandra Post of Oakville, Ont., leads the list with eight wins.
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Brogan McKinnon of Mississauga, Ont., tied for 17th at the Decatur-Forsythe Classic in Decatur, Ill., finishing at five under.
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