Thirteen year-old Brooke Henderson has done it again. The Smiths Falls golfer has won yet another major golf tournament.
Henderson finished off the GAO Ontario Junior Girls’ Championship on Thursday, July 14th, with a final round of 71 to give her a three stroke win over Brogan McKinnon of Rattle Snake Point Golf Club.
For the three day event at Goderich Sunset GC, Henderson posted rounds of 72, 67, and 71. Her 67 was a new course record.
The big win follows on the heels of 2011 victories at the CN Future Links Ontario Championship and the Empire Life Eastern Provinces Championship.
Even with that momentum Henderson knew she would be in a for a fight at the Ontario Junior. “I knew coming into the event that there would be lots of good players here, so I tried to shoot some good scores like the 67 and stay under par,” said Henderson who has grown more than a few inches since last golf season and added more yardage off the tee as a result. She routinely hits drives in the 240-250 yard range.
By the time Henderson teed up her final round, it was apparent that 16 year-old Brogan McKinnon of Mississauga was the only competitor able to stop Henderson’s run for the trophy. Henderson and McKinnon recently tied for third place at the Investors Group Ontario Women’s Amateur, and again found themselves battling through the final round.
The duo pulled away from the pack heading into the final 18 holes, with Henderson holding a two-shot advantage over McKinnon and the rest of the field a full nine strokes behind the lead pair.
With Henderson up by three at the final turn, she rolled in a birdie putt on the par 4, 312-yard 11th hole before sinking another on the 12th to move five strokes ahead. As the pair headed down the stretch, McKinnon cut the deficit to four with a birdie on 14.
“I liked the 11th hole this week because it was a short par four and I was able to get close every day in one shot,” said Henderson, who birdied the hole in all three rounds. “But Brogan definitely threw some darts at me toward the end and made some nice shots coming in.”
Henderson approached the large gallery at the 18th green as the only player under par for the competition. Despite lipping out a four-foot putt for par and marking a bogey, Henderson was all smiles as she closed out the competition with a three stroke victory.
“It was awesome to get the win here,” grinned Henderson, who struggled to explain how she maintains her focus and marked composure throughout a summer packed with competitive golf. She will now head to the U.S. Junior Girls championship next week near Chicago, and also qualified on Monday for the U.S. Women’s Amateur taking place in August.
McKinnon, a member of Team Canada’s development squad and the 2010 Ontario Summer Games gold medalist, earned runner-up honours. The Rattlesnake Point Golf Club member finished with a total score of 213 (72-69-72), three over par.
The bronze medal went to Peterborough resident Katlyn Elliott of Kawartha Golf and Country Club, who finished at +13 with a total score of 223 (73-77-73). 2011 Junior Spring Classic champion Elizabeth Tong of Richmond Hill finished fourth at 224 (77-75-72), while Markham’s Vivian Tsui rounded out the top five with a cumulative score of 225, +14.
In the District Team competition, the Scarboro District duo of Tsui and Grace Chung of Richmond Hill earned the gross division title, while the Waterloo District team of Kirsten Degutis of Waterloo and Sarah Dunning of Kitchener captured the net division victory.
The event also serves as a qualifier for the Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls championship set to take place at QGolf Club in Richmond, BC from August 1st to 5th. Henderson, McKinnon, and Elliott will represent the province as Team Ontario in the inter-provincial team component of the national championship.