There is a saying that “the golf ball doesn’t know how old you are” but if it did it might be very impressed with how 14 year-old Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls played it over the last two days.
The grade nine Smith Falls District Collegiate student accomplished the remarkable on Wednesday, June 13, winning the second CN Canadian Women’s Tour Event of the year over a field of top professionals and amateurs. She also won the most coveted perk for the victory, a spot in the LPGA CN Canadian Women’s Open to be played in Vancouver this August 20-26.
In doing so Brooke becomes the youngest winner ever of a professional golf event surpassing Lydia Kyo who was also 14 when she won the New South Wales Open in Australia this past January.
Playing at the Beloeil Golf Club southeast of Montreal, Henderson established a one stroke lead after day one with a blemish-free score of 67. She stretched that advantage in round two, giving herself a five stroke margin over the field after fourteen holes by playing them in two under par. Her card was not as clean in round two but ultimately her second circuit of 72 strokes earned her the win by a two stroke margin over American pro Lisa Ferrero.
For those not familiar with Ms. Henderson, a member of the National Developmental Team, she has already has an impressive golf resume. Not only did she reach match play at last year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur, she won last year’s CN Ontario Future Links Title, the Ontario Junior Girls’ Championship, and the OFSSAA Golf Championship. She also has won the CN Quebec Future Links Title and the Quebec Juvenile Girls’ Championship. The latter at the age of just 11. Earlier this year she finished in a tie for 7th at the first CN Canadian Women’s Tour event of the season and lost a playoff at the CN Ontario Future Links Championship. She is currently the 91st ranked women’s amateur in the world and was #2 in Canada prior to today’s win.
“I putted really well,” said Henderson when reached by phone after the CN trophy ceremony that she was able to share with her family, including father Dave and mother, Darlene, who were there to watch her play.
Brooke said that with the lead to start the final round there was a little extra pressure to play well and with a walking scorer alongside she knew where she stood all day long. “I started to feel it a little there at the end,” she admitted, referencing the three bogeys she made in the closing four holes. “I just tried to focus on hitting good shots.”
As for the opportunity that now lays before her, understandably Brooke is thrilled. “I’m really excited and looking forward to it; to playing with against all the girls out there,” she said of the chance to play an LPGA Tour event. As for expectations, she is modest in her goals. “I just want to go out and play my best, to try and at least make the cut.”
At the start of the CN Canadian Women’s Tour series, Henderson’s goal was to earn her way into the CN Canadian Women’s Open. Failing to to do that in the three tournament series she says she had planned to try and Monday qualify. She needed the big finish at Beloeil to earn as many points as possible as she was not going to be able to play the third and final event scheduled for the last week of June. She took care of that with the win and on June 26-30 she can now dial in on her next big event, a visit to the east coast of Scotland to compete in the British Women’s Amateur at Carnoustie Golf Club.
Asked how her latest victory (she won the Eastern Provinces field day last Friday and was co-medalist at the U.S. Junior Girl’s Qualifying this past Sunday) will help her moving forward, Brooke was pretty clear on it’s effect. “It really gives me even more confidence. I feel a lot more comfortable in these tournaments. That makes it easier to play well.”
If Brooke Henderson is feeling even more confident, then life just became a little harder for her competitors and the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open just got a whole lot more interesting.
Brooke will still be 14 when she competes in Vancouver, making her the youngest player to ever play the Canadian Women’s Open. That title was previously held by Lexi Thompson who played as 15 year-old.
It is pretty elite company for Henderson but all indications are that she already fits in nicely with some of the best players in the world.
And to think, she still has two more years of high school left to complete.
It makes you shake your head and smile at the same time. Heavy on the smile, of course.
The following are final round scores from the CN Canadian Women’s Tour event at Club de golf Beloeil in Beloeil, Que. (6,164 yards / par 71)
1. Brooke Henderson (a), Smiths Falls, ON, 67-72-139 -3
2. Lisa Ferrero, Lodi, CA, 68-73-141 -1
3. Candace Schepperle, Birmingham, AL, 75-68-143 +1
3. Jennifer Kirby (a), Paris, ON, 69-74-143 +1
5. Angela Drane, Grandview, PE, 74-70-144 +2
6. Stephanie Sherlock, Barrie, ON, 74-71-145 +3
6. Hye-Min Kim, San Diego, CA, 72-73-145 +3
8. Renee Skidmore, Everett, WA, 76-70-146 +4
8. Kristen Park, Buena Park, CA, 74-72-146 +4
8. Lindsey Bergeon, Sarasota, FL, 70-76-146 +4
11. Brittany Marchand (a), Orangeville, ON, 74-73-147 +5
11. Nicole Zhang (a), Calgary, AB, 72-75-147 +5
13. Danielle Mills, Pointe-Claire, QC, 74-74-148 +6
13. Augusta James (a), Bath, ON, 71-77-148 +6
15. Jennifer Greggain, Chilliwack, BC, 78-71-149 +7
15. Samantha Richdale, Kelowna, BC, 78-71-149 +7
17. Justina Yu, Las Vegas, NV, 77-73-150 +8
17. Nicole Vandermade, Brantford, ON, 78-72-150 +8
17. Ki-Shui Liao, Windermere, FL, 77-73-150 +8
17. Jody Fleming, Melbourne, IL, 75-75-150 +8
17. So Yeon Park, Vancouver, BC, 74-76-150 +8
17. Taylor Kim (a), Surrey, BC, 74-76-150 +8
17. Tomoko Yokoyama, Irvine, CA, 74-76-150 +8
17. Jisoo Keel (a), Coquitlam, BC, 72-78-150 +8
25. Christine Wong (a), Richmond, BC, 77-74-151 +9
25. Christina Stockton, Rocklin, CA, 75-76-151 +9
25. Erica Rivard (a), Tecumseh, ON, 74-77-151 +9
28. Elise Swartout, Ann Arbor, MI, 77-75-152 +10
28. Ginny Brown, Austin, TX, 76-76-152 +10
28. Brittany Benvenuto, Langhorne, PA, 75-77-152 +10
28. Stacey Bieber, Winnipeg, MB, 74-78-152 +10
32. Kate Scarpetta (a), Moosic, PA, 78-75-153 +11
32. Cheryl Fox, Fort Pierce, FL, 77-76-153 +11
32. Emily Flanigan, Reunion, FL, 78-75-153 +11
32. Jenna Pearson, Wheaton, IL, 78-75-153 +11
32. Ashley Sholer, Hamilton, ON, 76-77-153 +11
32. Rebecka Heinmert, Danville, CA, 74-79-153 +11
38. Brogan McKinnon (a), Mississauga, ON, 78-76-154 +12
38. Melissa Mabanta, Langley, BC, 78-76-154 +12
38. Vanessa Vela, Colombia, 77-77-154 +12
38. Anne-Catherine Tanguay (a), Quebec, QC, 78-76-154 +12
38. Christina Proteau (a), Port Alberni, BC, 76-78-154 +12
38. Noriko Nakazaki, Hanover Park, IL, 76-78-154 +12
44. Julie Shutler, Manteca, CA, 78-77-155 +13
44. Sabrina Sapone (a), Montreal, QC, 78-77-155 +13
44. Kelly Shon (a), Port Washington, NY, 77-78-155 +13
44. Anna (Younjin) Kim (a), Toronto, ON, 78-77-155 +13
44. Susan Choi, Natick, MA, 76-79-155 +13
44. Chandra Alexander, San Angelo, TX, 79-76-155 +13
44. Maria Laura Elvira, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 74-81-155 +13
44. Nhung Thi Tang, Bangkok, Thailand, 71-84-155 +13
52. Kim Welch, Roseville, CA, 75-81-156 +14
52. Victoria Thompson, Akwesasne, ON, 79-77-156 +14
54. Elizabeth Tong (a), Montréal, ON, 77-80-157 +15
54. Taylore Karle, Scottsdale, AZ, 80-77-157 +15
54. Josée Doyon (a), St-Georges-de-Beauce, QC, 80-77-157 +15
57. Anna Young (a), Saskatoon, SK, 80-78-158 +16
57. Élyse Archambault (a), St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, 82-76-158 +16
57. Jacklynn Miller, North Bay, ON, 83-75-158 +16
60. Jennifer Ha (a), Calgary, AB, 76-83-159 +17
60. Katherine Gravel-Coursol (a), Mirabel, QC, 82-77-159 +17
62. Alexa Kim, Toronto, ON, 79-81-160 +18
62. Jillian Fraccola, Manlius, NY, 81-79-160 +18
62. Sylvie Schetagne, Laval, QC, 84-76-160 +18
65. Candra Sumedhatip, Las Vegas, NV, 77-84-161 +19
65. Laurence Mignault (a), Varennes, QC, 77-84-161 +19
65. Kiersten Klekner-Alt (a), Ottawa, ON, 79-82-161 +19
65. Alexis Bennett, Rockford, IL, 82-79-161 +19
69. Caroline Ciot (a), Brossard, QC, 77-85-162 +20
70. Alana Johnson, Goodyear, AZ, 75-88-163 +21
70. Alexandra Pelletier (a), Delson, QC, 82-81-163 +21
72. Amanda McPhee, Winchester, MA, 79-86-165 +23
73. Courtney Harter, Clearwater, FL, 81-85-166 +24
74. Kathleen Robinson, Alexandria, VA, 79-88-167 +25
75. Jamie Oleksiew (a), Surrey, BC, 83-85-168 +26
75. Lauren Sullivan, Fort Worth, TX, 83-85-168 +26
77. Sabina Imboden, Marbella Spain, 82-89-171 +29
77. Ellen O’Brien, Toronto, ON, 86-85-171 +29
79. Alexandra Lévy (a), Montréal, QC, 86-87-173 +31
79. Élise Paiement, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, 87-86-173 +31
81. MerriLyn Gibbs, Pittsburgh, PA, 89-87-176 +34