It’s usually pretty easy for Brooke Henderson to be the most calm, cool, and collected golfer on the course, that’s the norm for the 16 year-old reigning Canadian Women’s Amateur Champion, but that might be a little harder for her to do this week. She’s excited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and she’s not afraid to show it.
That was apparent in late February when the Smiths Falls’ golfer first revealed to Flagstick that she had accepted an exemption into the first LPGA Major Championship of 2014, and even more so on Wednesday when she addressed the national media in a teleconference.
“It’s just an unbelievable experience. I was looking at Poppies Pond yesterday and it’s just the best sight in the world,” said the teenager about the water feature where the champion takes their traditional victory plummet.
Henderson shared that she was at school in February when she received a text from her father informing her on the exemption for this week. It made for a challenging day. “I was just so excited…I had to write three tests that day so I don’t think I was too focussed on the tests after that.”
That said, Henderson is well prepared for the experience. She has had a busy schedule through the winter, winning the South Atlantic Amateur (The Sally) in January and playing a few other events amid intense practice. This is her fifth LPGA Tour event and her second major, having competed in and made the cut at the 2013 United States Open. Like that major, her older sister Brittany will be on the bag in Rancho Mirage, California. It is the reverse of the situation from a month ago when Brooke caddied Brittany to a win on the Sun Coast Ladies Tour.
The pair flew to the California desert late last week, preparing at a nearby course and managed three practice rounds at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills. It’s a layout that Henderson knows will test her skills.
“It’s a tight course and it’s playing very long so a good drive on the right side, or the correct side of the fairways, is very important. The greens are all pretty slopey and all run toward the valley in Indio so it’s good to know and keep in the back of your head.”
Henderson will tee off in round one at 4:54 p.m. (EST). A live leaderboard is available at this link.
Rebecca Lee-Bentham is the only other Canadian in the field. She tees off in round one at 10:26 a.m. (EST).