Simply based on results, Brooke Henderson’s 2017 season hasn’t quite measured up to what she accomplished in her first full season on the LPGA Tour in 2016.
That could change this week at the CME Group Tour Championship, the culmination of the season-long competition with a $1-million prize for the winner. The top five players – Henderson is ranked fifth going into the tournament at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, FL – are in control of their own destiny. Win the tournament and win the year.
“I love the position I’m in. Hopefully I’ll make it interesting,” Henderson said. “It was a big goal of mine to get into the top five and to give myself the chance to control my own destiny this week.”
Henderson won twice last year, including her first major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and had 16 top-10 finishes. She climbed as high as No. 2 in the world rankings.
The 20-year-old had two wins this season, the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open, and eight top 10s. She is currently 13th in the world rankings.
“I believe it was a great follow-up to last year,” Henderson said. “I had really a miracle season or the perfect season last year. So many things went perfect for me. This year I kind of battled through a little bit more, a little bit more up and down, but to get two wins out here with the amount of talented players and the consistency that’s out here on the LPGA Tour, and I’m really proud of that.”
The CME is Henderson’s 30th event of the year. She played 31 last season, the most on Tour, when she wanted to play as many events as possible to get a feel for the tournaments and courses and figure out what best fit her game. She built in a couple of breaks this season.
“This year I did take a few more off,” she said. “I skipped Blue Bay (last week) just because traveling would’ve been extremely difficult. I skipped the Scottish Open (in July). Same thing: travel just wasn’t ideal for me.
“Maybe we’ve become maybe a little bit smarter in picking and choosing. I feel like my schedules have been the correct schedules for the way I’ve been playing, the way I’ve been feeling and the way the years have been setting up.”
The other players in charge of their own destiny this week are: Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson and recently crowned new world No. 1, Shanshan Feng.
Round one update: Brooke opens with a 70 (-2) and shares 18th place. Alena Sharp of Hamilton shot 75 (+3). Leaders Sarah Jane Smith and Peiyun Chien opened at -6.
Round two update: Brooke records her second straight 70 and at -4 shares 25th place. Alena Sharp follows her opening 75 with a 74 and is tied for 66th at +5. Leader and reigning U.S. and CP Women’s Open Champion Sung Hyun Park is at -12.
Round three update: Third straight 70 for Brooke Henderson. She is now -6 overall with one round to play. Four leaders at at -10. Alena Sharp is tied for 54th.
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