Calculated Approach Pays Off For Brooke Henderson

Brooke Henderson Monday Qualifies to join sister in field at LPGA Cambia Portland Classic

By Chris Stevenson

Brooke Henderson finished tied for 5th place  at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Brooke Henderson finished tied for 5th place at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship

RYE, N.Y. – Brooke Henderson got scorched by Inbee Park at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but so did everybody else.

The 17-year-old Henderson finished tied for fifth, nine shots behind Park, who won her third Women’s PGA Championship in a row with a brilliant 19-under part total at venerable Westchester Country Club.

 It was Henderson’s second top 10 finish in a major to go with her tie for 10th in last year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

She finished 10-under at a major with rounds of 67-73-71-71 and was never out of the top five at Westchester.

Henderson was strong from tee to green for the week. She had 17 birdies and an eagle at a major which speaks to her ability to hit the ball close to the hole. She had a bogey-free 2-under par 71 on Sunday.

She hit 45 of 56 fairways while averaging 245.38 yards off the tee.

She left a few on the greens at Westchester Country Club as her putts per round climbed with each round (29, 30, 31 and 34 on Sunday).

It was a combination of the greens getting crusty and a conservative approach.

Brooke’s father, Dave, who was on the bag this week, took responsibility for the cautious approach on the greens.

As Henderson chases a 2016 Tour card by earning the equivalent of 40th place on the money list (she earned $132,725 on Sunday, has $317,470 for the year and will probably need about $450,000), they wanted to protect her position on the leaderboard.

“There will be a day when we will chase after (flags), too. We’ll have tighter lines. It might be much better or slightly worse,” said Dave Henderson. “Very proud, top 10, top five in a major with that kind of leaderboard, with that kind of competition, very happy, very pleased. It was a most successful week.”

“It was a really fun week. I learned a lot about myself and my game,” said Brooke. “I really enjoyed myself this week. I would have liked to have climbed up that leaderboard a little bit more today, but it was a steady day and I’ll take 2-under on Sunday.

“I think every time playing on the LPGA Tour, especially when I’m close to the top, I think I learn a lot about my tendencies and where I can improve to get a little bit better score the next time. I’ve learned a lot the last couple of weeks because I’ve been playing well out here.”

Henderson will probably have about three more starts on the LPGA Tour to chase that money: she’s exempt into the U.S. Open next month and the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August. She might get into the Ricoh British Women’s Open. Her only option after that to get into LPGA Tour events would be through Monday qualifying.  

Fact is she will have to have another week like she just had to get to 40th on the money list or face the perils of going to Q-School to earn her 2016 card.

Henderson’s next guaranteed start on the LPGA Tour will be the Women’s United States Open to be held at the Lancaster CC (Pennsylvania) starting July 9th.  The $4 million purse features a first place prize of $720,000 with the top 10 finisher earning $96,000.

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