Apparently Brooke Henderson wanted her turn at winning the Sun Coast Series Winter Championship. Last year it was her older sibling, Brittany Henderson (24), who was the victor and she looked good to defend her title as she started the final round today with a two stroke lead on the Florida-based mini-tour.
Little sis had other ideas.
Brooke, just 17, manufactured an 8 under par charge to wrestle the tournament from her sister, posting a final round 64 on her way to a -15 tournament total. This while Brittany also got off to a fast start to keep them close but struggled on a few holes to finish the round. Brittany could only muster a final round 75. It ultimately secured her second place at a distant 6 under par total, two better than 5-time LPGA Tour winner Maria Hjorth.
A nine shot victory with a bogey free final round in windy conditions had, as expected, Brooke in a very good mood when we caught up with her. She had just earned her a 5th professional title. It’s her second that she can accept a cheque for after turning professional in December.
“It was a lot of fun, I had a great pairing. I was with my sister again and we were battling out. I think the first three holes I birdied the first two, she birdied three and then we both birdied four,” she told us by phone after getting a trophy shot with the famous bear statue at the club.
After that early battle with her sister for top spot, Brooke was off to the races. Thanks to precise irons play she roared to a lead with a 31 (-5) on the opening nine.
“I was able to keep hitting good shots into the greens and give myself a lot of opportunities for birdie,” she commented. “My ball striking was really helping out. I actually left a few putts out there, which is sorta hard to believe. It was a great day and I am very thankful to come away with a win and to shoot a 64 in the final round. I had a lot of opportunities and I made putts when I needed to.”
Brooke says the win helps her build momentum and a little more confidence. She’ll use that in two weeks on the Symetra Tour. The teen shared with Flagstick.com that she has been given an exemption into the next event on that tour, Florida’s Natural Charity Classic being played in Lake Wales, FL. which starts on March 27th. She’ll be in the field along with her sister who is a member of that tour.
“It’ll be exciting to play over there and play with Britt over there as well; it’ll be fun,” she remarked about the opportunity.
For her victory Brooke earned $5,000 (USD) and jumps to the top spot on the SunCoast Series money list with $9,250 (USD) earned in just four tournaments.
Brooke says she has no plans to play in the LPGA TOUR Monday qualifiers for the events in Arizona and California now that the tour has returned to the United States, but will pursue some opportunities after that.
Canadians finished in three of the top four spots at Black Bear, Anne-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec finished in fourth place.