When you are a non-member of a tour and you need earnings to work your way in, every chance to play is important. That’s the case for Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls who is fighting for her place to play full-time on the LPGA TOUR.
The 17 year-old pro got a boost on Monday when it was announced that he would receive an exemption to play in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. It takes place on June 11-14 in Harrison, New York.
A major event means major money and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship has the second largest purse on the LPGA Tour at (USD) $3.5 million. It is second only to the U.S. Women’s Open that will take place in early July and has a $4 million prize pool. Brooke already has an exemption for that as a top ten finisher in 2014.
The KPMG exemption helps fill out a grueling sprint for young Henderson. Beginning this week with the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC, she will play five of the next six events on the LPGA Tour. (Kingsmill Championship, ShopRite LPGA Classic, Manulife LPGA Classic, KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open)
Each one will be important as she chases either a win or a top 40 position on the money list (equivalent as she is a non-member and not actually on the money list) that would earn her status for 2016.
In 2014 the top 40 position fell on Hee Young Park who won $447,658.
In three LPGA Tour starts this year Brooke has earned just over $161,000.
She’s chipping away at what she needs to earn to avoid qualifying school in the Fall. It’s a long way to go but the ability to play regularly over the next two months is a big opportunity.
She already has an exemption for the CP Canadian Women’s Open in August but the news Monday completes the list of six exemptions she can take outside of the U.S. Women’s Open & British Women’s Open. She can also make her way into other events through qualifiers. That is what she would need to do to play in the British Women’s Open but as of a few weeks ago she had not committed to qualifying for it. There is still a possibility that she may receive a special exemption for that championship.
The stage has been set; she just needs to keep performing.