By many measures the 2019 LPGA season was another tale of success for Brooke Henderson.
On Sunday the 22 year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario capped the playing year with a 5th place finish at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Her 15-under-par total was achieved with the help of a Sunday 67 that was not enough to catch leader and winner Sei Young Kim, who took home the $1.5 million prize.
But the top Canadian player on the LPGA Tour was not left empty-handed.
Henderson earned $176,570 for her showing at Tiburon Resort in Naples, Florida, just thirty minutes down the road from her winter home. It’s where she will spend of the off-season contemplating her play and what she needs to do to better herself in the year to come.
Even better would be a high standard, but nothing seems out of reach when you consider she has won nine-times since 2015, including twice more this year. She lifted trophies at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii in April and another at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give two months later in Michigan. To supplement that she mixed in eleven more top ten finishes in her 27 starts, adding up to on-course earnings of $1,696,017. That is just notch behind her highest year-long total ever, a mark she set in 2016 at $1,724,420.
“Really happy with how 2019 went,” remarked Henderson after her last round of the year. “Looking forward to the off-season, hopefully get a little better, and be ready for 2020.”
She was content as well with her play on Sunday, having started the day six shots in arrears.
“Yeah, it was a good round. Got off to a pretty good start. Front nine things were looking good. Would’ve liked to get a few more on the back, but overall really happy.”
She continued on the subject, “…you know, the leaders were pretty far ahead. I was trying to just make as many birdies as I could and climb up as much as possible. I’m happy with how I finished. Like I said, I would have liked to maybe get a few more, but it’s golf. I played well, so I’m happy.”
The results adds more depth to a short but already remarkable career for Henderson. The nine-win mark she hit this year makes her the winningest Canadian ever on the LPGA or PGA Tour. Her 48 top-ten finishes since 2015 have also helped her pick up official earnings that total a shade under $6.5 million.
But money and wins are just one sign of success, Brooke was honoured this week as the winner of the LPGA Founders Award. Given to the player who best exemplifies the values of the Tour, it is voted on by the players and that earned respect was not lost on the young Canadian. It falls in line with her goals of not only being a better player, but a better person, each day.
Of course, she can get back to doing that in a couple months when the Tour resumes play. After a 27-event season also packed with sponsor obligations and the weight of a nation, she has some time for herself ahead.
“Nothing too much,” was her response to a question about how she will spend her days away from the course in the coming weeks. “Like no vacations or anything. Just kind of taking it easy, enjoying South Florida, and going back home to Canada, too. I think just kind of continue what I’m doing. Just be a little bit more consistent. Hopefully 2020 will be even better.”
Only the foolish would bet against that happening.
Sharp Finds Success As Well
The other Canadian in the field, Alena Sharp, earned a share of 29th place at the CME Group Tour Championship. The veteran also had a successful season, with the second-highest season earnings of her career and four top-ten finishes. She was also named to the LPGA Board as a Player Director.