(Naples, Florida) – Brooke Henderson is rested and ready to go for the final event of the LPGA TOUR season. Better yet the Canadian can sleep in her own bed this week; she now owns a condominium twenty miles up the road from Tiburon Golf Club, the host for the CME Group Tour Championship.
But that is not her only advantage. Coming into the championship the darling of Smiths Falls, Ontario (and Canada, for that matter) is in 3rd place in the CME Globe reset points. That means she, along with the only four golfers in the top 5, can control their fate. A win here will earn them the season-long Race To The CME Globe and the $1 million that comes with it. The tournament also offers a $500,000 prize to the winner.
That would certainly cap what has been another significant year for the 21 year-old who has already had a historic run in 2018. After winning the Lotte Championship in Hawaii in April she drew the eyes of an entire country with her captivating victory at the CP Women’s Open. Add in eight other top-ten finishes and it has been another notable campaign for the 7-time TOUR winner.
Currently the 9th player in the world, no matter the result in Naples, Brooke has had a fulfilling effort in the past eleven months although she remains focused on playing well, both this week, and heading into 2019.
“Yeah. 2018 coming into the year I wanted to have a big year. I’m very happy with how everything has turned out, you know, winning twice when the competition is so tough out here”, she shared in the media room on Tuesday. “Having multiple Top 10s…I’ve been top 10 in a lot of different statistics, which is big keys for my season. I’m just really happy to be back in the position of third in the CME. Coming into the year I definitely wanted to be in the Top 5 to have a chance this week. I think it’s just an amazing opportunity, so hopefully I can capitalize.”
To aid her effort Henderson chose to skip the recent LPGA event in China after a lengthy run on the Asian Swing, instead opting for something fairly rare in her schedule, a week off. She did, however, travel to Myrtle Beach where her sister and caddy, Brittany, was inducted in the Coastal Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Physically and mentally I feel like I’m in a really good spot,” Brooke assessed. “I feel like 2018, especially the last half, both those things have been really strong for me, which is really exciting. I think a big part of that is taking a week off after Japan and before this week. Just being able to rest, being able to practice and prepare the best that I can going into this week. I feel like Brit and I have done a good job in this off week we just had. Looking forward to finishing off the season hopefully with a big week here.”
While it is a field limited, Henderson has yet to finish outside the top 25 in three past appearances at Tiburon (13th, t-24, t-25) and feels her skill set is well-suited to the Greg Norman design.
“I think as long as your ball-striking is in a good spot, which generally that is my strength, then you can get around this golf course and shoot under par,” Brooke commented. “I think this week ball-striking is definitely going to be a big key, especially if the wind picks up, which it’s predicted to do on Thursday.”
She added, “Hitting fairways, greens in the right spots. If I do that, make some birdies and put myself in a good position on the weekend, then I think maybe your thinking changes a little bit more towards hoisting that trophy at the end of Sunday. Basically just got to go out and play good golf like I have all year.”
As she prepares to tee off, Brooke believes she is positioned right where she wants to be. “One of my main goals this year was to be in the Top 5 coming into this event so that I could have this opportunity. I’ve been really fortunate that for the past three years I’ve been in position if I play well this week that I could walk away with that $1 million, which is pretty special.”
Henderson will tee off at 10:41 am local time Thursday for round one alongside World #1 Ariya Jutanugran and World #5 Minjee Lee. They are #1 and #2 players in the CME Race To The Globe points coming into the Championship.