After an opening 77 Brooke Henderson knew she needed a special round on Friday if she wanted to make the weekend of play at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship. Normally that would be a tall order for any player. As a sixteen year-old amateur most would have figured she would just write the week off after 36 holes as another learning experience.
But that’s not Brooke Henderson’s style. She’s a fighter. A competitor, as she has shown time and time again.
The world’s 6th ranked women’s amateur from tiny Smiths Falls, Ontario displayed her full quiver of talents Friday in Rancho Mirage. She blitzed the front nine of the Dinah Shore Tournament course in just 32 strokes on her way to a 4 under par, 68. That gave her one of the lower rounds of the day and ensured she would play the weekend of a major championship for the second time in her young life. She made the weekend at the 2013 United States Women’s Open Championship. Her total of 145 (+1) at the Kraft Nabisco was four inside the cut line.
Henderson’s play was even enough to garner praise from television analyst and World Golf Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin. She remarked on-air about the Canadian teen, “she’s a charmer I hope that I see her grow up and play on the LPGA because she will be a great addition.”
Brooke was a popular topic on Twitter on Friday as many excited fans followed her stunning progress up the leaderboard, gaining some 46 spots after starting the day in a tie for 82nd.
She received similar praise in person as she reached the 18th green and the bridge that is the focal point of Dinah’s Walk of Fame. Brandon Richardson, a PGA Professional who spent some time with the Henderson sisters (older sibling Brittany is caddying) since they arrived in the California desert, says Brooke was greeted with “huge applause”.
Brooke was even brought into the autograph area to sign for fans after her round.
Now with the pressure of making the cut off her shoulders (her stated goal this week) Henderson has another quality opportunity ahead of her – the chance to play a major weekend. She’ll start that on Saturday in a pairing with Haeji Kang of Korea at 2:06 P.M. (EST).
The only other Canadian in the field, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, missed the cut (72,80).
Lexi Thompson and Se Ri Pak share the lead at -7.