Fritsch, Henderson Back In Action On Thursday

Brooke Henderson (File Photo: Flagstick.com)

w/ Chris Stevenson, The Rideau View Golf Insider

Brooke Henderson (File Photo: Flagstick.com)
Brooke Henderson (File Photo: Scott MacLeod, Flagstick.com)

SAN MARTIN, Calif. — It seems funny to say after a win, but Brooke Henderson didn’t have her “A” game when she successfully defended her title at the Cambia Portland Classic on the weekend, her third win on the LPGA Tour.

After a couple of days of preparation for the U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, which gets underway Thursday (Henderson is off at 5:03 EDT with world No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 4 Lexi Thompson), Henderson is feeling better about her swing.

Canadian national women’s team coach Tristan Mullally contributed a few ideas over the last couple of days.

“Working with Tristan yesterday was a huge help,” said Henderson after 18 holes on Wednesday. “Just kind of went back to basics and back to where I feel comfortable and where I hit my best, which I kind of drifted away from that a little bit. Going back to familiar things. Today I struck it a lot better. I was a little bit tired early in the week, too. I feel much better today and it was the first time where the thought of playing 18 holes sounded really good. I’m excited to tee it up tomorrow.”

This is the fourth U.S. Open for the 18-year-old Henderson. She finished 10th in 2014 (and won Low Amateur) and tied for fifth last year at Lancaster, Pa.

Thursday’s group will be the marquee attraction.

“It’s been really cool to be able to play and compete against Lexi, against Stacy (Lewis), and Brooke. I think we all learn from each other, we all feed off each other,” said Ko. “From the fans’ perspective, I think it’s been really cool to just be able to watch on the sidelines and see this great talent and great golf.”

• • •

After finally having the painful issue with his foot resolved, Brad Fritsch returns to action on the Web.com Tour this week at the Lecom Health Challenge in Findley Lake, N.Y., for the first time since he withdrew from the Rex Hospital Open in mid-May.

Turns out the problem with his foot was gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis.

“I got some bad diagnoses initially, so it never got any better. About three weeks later, I went to just a family doctor and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s gout. No doubt.’ I took oral steroids for a while and knocked it out pretty much,” said Fritsch.

He said Wednesday he had played two practice rounds with no issues.

In his absence, he fell from second on the Web.com Tour’s money list to fifth with $186,990 on the strength of his first win on the Web.com Tour and a tie for second in back-to-back tournament. He is still assured of getting his PGA Tour card for 2016-17 which is granted to the top 25 money winners.

“I’m very happy that I’m still fifth, though it’s a lot tighter than it was a month and a half ago,” he said. “I just want to play golf. For a while not know what it was and it wasn’t getting better, that was the worst part.”

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