Brooke Henderson apparently never forgets a good deed. The sponsor exemption granted to her seven years ago in the ShopRite LPGA Classic is a kindness that to this day has remained with the Canadian.
Having this chance, when she was then just 17, to pursue her dream of competing on the LPGA Tour, has stayed with the Canadian all these years later. And the feeling it gave her, that sense of confidence in her to be able to compete among the best in the world, is what she relied on on Sunday en route to victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“It’s a really special event for me,” Henderson said after his win. “They gave me a sponsor invitation in 2015, so it’s always been a really special place for me.”
On Sunday, Henderson rallied from a four-stroke deficit to defeat Lindsay Weaver-Wright with an eagle on the first hole of the playoffs to earn her 11th career victory on the LPGA Tour.
Henderson’s wins have multiplied as she has racked up wins in places and on courses where she has “good vibes,” as she often calls them.
The ShopRite LPGA Classic brought all the right feelings to Henderson who had fond memories of the competition as a teenager and with the tournament a driving distance from her home in Smiths Falls, Ont., friends and family were able to make the trip to spend the week with her in New Jersey. She felt at home. She felt comfortable.
But in recent years, Henderson hasn’t felt quite as comfortable and largely due to factors beyond her control.
Due to the 2020 pandemic, Henderson’s parents were unable to travel from their home in Canada and went months without seeing their daughter. It was a challenge not only for the family, who often spent weeks together on the road, but it also had an impact on Henderson’s game. Brooke’s father, Dave, is also the only coach she knows. In 2020, Henderson went winless for the first time since joining the Tour in 2015. The feelings just weren’t there.
In 2022, with her parents back on the Tour, she faces a new challenge. Henderson has played with a 48-inch driver for as long as she can remember. It was a perfect fit for her, as the former hockey goaltender gripped the club like she would a hockey stick. When a new local rule was passed at the start of the year, which limited the duration of the driver, Henderson was forced to find another option. She was once again out of her comfort zone.
Henderson found a new driver while still reeling from the fallout of 2020. His putting had largely hindered his success over the past two seasons. She traded putters, grips and stances. She started to put with the flag in the hole. Brooke and her younger sibling, Brittany, experimented with every possible way to improve her little game.
In the weeks leading up to the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Henderson landed on a low left throw style. Henderson found something that put her at ease on the greens and gave her a new sense of confidence that was on full display as she rolled in a six-footer for the eagle and victory on the first hole. playoffs in New Jersey. Henderson felt good.
“I just wanted to hang on to this one and hopefully get another win here in the next few weeks,” Henderson said on Sunday, “because there’s a very busy schedule and I can’t wait to compete.”
There’s a reason Henderson is excited for the next two stops on the LPGA Tour. She won them both.
The first is the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Henderson has already won twice, including on Father’s Day.
Next up is the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Although the championship moves to a different location each year, regardless of venue, Henderson is always a factor. Why? Because she has great feelings when she plays it. The Championship gave her a sponsor exemption in 2015 which she turned into a top 5 finisher. She won the following year to become the youngest winner in major history and has three other top 10 finishes.
The next two weeks are also important for Nelly Korda, as she looks to defend two titles.
At the Meijer LPGA Classic, Korda will play for only the second time since returning to competition after surgery to remove a blood clot in his arm. As defending champion, she will have many positive memories of her own. Korda’s victory in Michigan became the stepping stone to her first major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship title, a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and elevated her to No. 1 on the Rolex Rankings.
Henderson’s ability to trust his natural instincts has earned him more wins than any other golfer, male or female, in Canada. His hockey-loving father taught him how to handle a golf club. Henderson became the most prolific female golfer in Canadian golf history by relying heavily on her senses. She doesn’t have an orthodox swing and for years, despite being just 5ft 4in, she swung one of the longest drivers on the LPGA Tour with a snatch grip and approach. from most tee boxes. That’s what made him feel good, and that’s what worked.
And, Brooke Henderson will never forget how a good deed made her feel.