Brooke Henderson has been a teenage Canadian warrior this year on the LPGA Tour.
The 17-year-old came into the year without LPGA membership, forcing her to Monday qualify for event after event. However, Henderson has answered the bell time and again, earning her way in events, scoring high finishes and going through the whole process all over the next time. Going into this past weekend’s Portland Classic, Henderson had made the cut in eight of nine starts, including three top-five finishes and six top-25s.
Henderson again had to play her way in the field, getting through the Monday qualifier. Frankly, the teen must have figured she’d had just about enough of the extra day of work each week. She obliterated the field at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club, winning by eight shots over three players at 21-under 267. The final result was never in doubt on Sunday, as Henderson locked up the first LPGA win by a Canadian woman since Lorie Kane in 2001.
“I think my game has been at a great level all season, but this week — well, since Monday, really — it all came together, and I was able to go low,” she said after a final-round 69.
With the win, Henderson earns $195,000 and, potentially, a two-year exemption on the LPGA Tour. Why potentially? Her age. When a player that is under the tour’s age floor of 18 wins, that player has to appeal to LPGA commissioner Mike Whan to take up membership. She could also defer that membership until next year when she’s 18.
“I haven’t even really thought about it yet,” Henderson said. “I’m just going to celebrate tonight and then hopefully make a decision soon and we’ll see what happens.”
Next up for Henderson: her home open, the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. Needless to say, she’s excited for the post-victory homecoming.
“It’ll be awesome to be back with the Canadian support,” she said. “That was my first LPGA tournament three years ago, so it’ll be nice to be there.”