She was a goalie during her minor hockey career and it was her great defensive skills that Brooke Henderson displayed on Sunday on her way to her third LPGA Tour victory.
The 18-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario battled a mis-behaving swing and a balky putter over the last 36 holes but she overcame the adversity to win her second consecutive Cambia Portland Classic in Portland, Oregon.
After opening rounds of 65 and 68, the world’s second-ranked player could do no better than 70 and 71 on the weekend but her scrappy play, marked by some missed birdie opportunities and sparkling par saves when she needed them, earned her the title.
“I didn’t really play my best today,”conveyed the winner. “but I hit good shots when I needed to and got some good breaks, too. That’s always really nice.”
Through the back nine she tangled with Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe but nobody could seem to make gains on the Canadian. It was not until the end of the day where Henderson, the overnight leader, gained a comfortable margin on his pursuers.
“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. It was kind of a weird day of golf. I hit some really good shots and hit some really bad shots, but, like, it all worked out.”
It may not have been her best showing but fourteen under par was enough for a win and a boost heading into next week’s United States Women’s Open Championship.
Asked if the victory instills some confidence she responded, “I think so. Three wins on the LPGA Tour against the best players in the world and being able to compete on the biggest stages. Really amazing and I’m just really looking froward to next week and the rest of the season.”
Henderson becomes part of elite company in the longest running event on the LPGA Tour, she joins Kathy Whitworth and Annika Sorenstam as the only back-to-back winners in Portland. The accomplishment did not go unnoticed by the second year pro.
“Yeah, that’s amazing. They were two incredible women that did amazing things out on the golf course and in their own lives. To be in the same sentence and acknowledged alongside them is very cool. I’m really excited I was able to do to this year, and maybe we’ll try for a third next year.”
Brooke’s -14 total and third LPGA victory earned her another (USD) $195,000 and moves her to second place in the year-long Race To The CME Globe.
The winnings bring her official LPGA earnings to $1,386,009 and places her in 175th on the LPGA Career Money List.
In 2016 she has already earned $1,285,715 and is in second place in the 2016 LPGA Official Money List.
— Michael Whan (@LPGACommish) July 3, 2016
/ Scott MacLeod @Flagstick