Canada’s Brooke Henderson tees it up at first major of women’s golf season

Brooke Henderson has started the LPGA Tour season on a wave, one she hopes to ride into the first major of the season.

The 26-year-old golfer from Smiths Falls, Ont., has four top 10 finishes in the first seven tournaments of the year, finishing no worse than a tie for 27th. That’s the kind of momentum she needs heading into this week’s Chevron Championship.

“I’m always trying to get those top 10s and be in contention on the weekend,” said Henderson on Wednesday. “So it’s been fun to be in that position a couple of times already this year.”

The Chevron Championship moved to The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, for the first time last year and Henderson found the course challenging, tying for 23rd after shooting an even-par overall. Lilia Vu won it in a playoff against fellow American Angel Yin after both shot 10 under.

Henderson said that she and her sister Brittany Sepanik, who is also her caddy, made a point of getting to The Club at Carlton Woods earlier this year to better prepare for the first of five women’s golf majors.

“Just getting a little better feel for it, knowing where to miss and where the good spots are to try to make birdie,” said Henderson, who noted that the greens are firmer this year. “I think that’s really key and just understanding the course a little bit better. I think that’ll be helpful on the weekend.”

Although Henderson finished 2023 in 15th in the LPGA Tour’s Race to CME Globe standings, she said she wasn’t happy with the year overall. But a tie for sixth at the Maybank Championship on Oct. 26, and taking second with partner Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., at the Grant Thornton Invitational on Dec. 8, helped her shake off that slow start.

She opened the 2024 season with a third-place finish at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Jan. 18, tied for ninth at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Feb. 22, and tied for third at the HSBC Women’s World Championship.

Most recently, Henderson tied for ninth at the T-Mobile Match Play on April 3 for her fourth top 10 of the year, one more than she had in all of 2023.

“I think the game has been trending in the right direction for a few months now and it’s right there,” she said. “I just need a few things to go the right way and then I think hopefully, I’ll be back in the winner’s circle sometime soon.”

Henderson has won two other majors before: the Women’s PGA Championship in 2016 and the Evian Championship in 2022. Her best finish at the Chevron was a tie for second in 2020, when it was called the ANA Inspiration and played at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Rookie Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ont., is also in the field, making her first appearance at a major. The 22-year-old said she’s excited for the chance to play against the best-of-the-best.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Grewal. “I feel like one of my bucket list goals has always been playing a major and now to start that path off is really exciting.

“Hopefully, this will be the first of many.”

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