The LPGA saw fit not to grant an exemption to 17-year-old Brooke Henderson. They may think differently now.
PGA.com is reporting that Henderson had to play her way into the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout, played in Irving, Texas, last week at the Swinging Skirts Classic at the Las Colinas Country Club in Daly City, California. It was Henderson’s first ever tournament, and she finished third after leading the second and third rounds. Lydia Ko and Morgan Pressel entered a playoff, which Ko won. Henderson’s third-place finish was enough to exempt her for this weekends’ tournament. Once again, the Canadian Henderson is leading the pack.
Henderson shot a 6-under 65 to take a one stroke lead over Inbee Park, who won this tournament in 2013, and 54-year-old Juli Inkster. Henderson had a bogey-free second round to go 8-under 134.
“Last week, definitely helped out a lot,” Henderson said. “Finishing third and having a chance to win on Sunday was a lot of fun. I’m excited to be in the same position. Hopefully, it will just turn out a little better.”
Henderson had to chip from behind the 18th hole yesterday, covering 20 yards to give her an 6-foot birdie chance, which she sank to maintain her one-stroke lead.
“It was a bad lie in the rough, so I’ll take it,” she said.
According to the Ottawa Sun, Henderson seems to be gaining confidence with every week.
“Last week definitely helped out a lot, finishing solo third and having a chance to win on Sunday was a lot of fun, and I definitely learned a lot from it,” Henderson said. “And then I had to Monday qualify earlier in the week, so I just sort of kept the momentum rolling.”
Henderson will try to take this experience and rally to an LPGA victory. She would be the first Canadian to win an LPGA event since Lorie Kane in 2001.
Henderson is trying not to become star-struck, though she’s leading one of the all-time greats.
“That’s really cool,” Henderson said of competing against Inkster. “She’s a legend for sure, and she’s definitely a great player and world No. 1 not too long ago.”
Henderson finished with the lowest round yesterday, amassing six birdies to help her bogey-less round. Henderson will be teamed with Inkster and Park for Saturday’s round. If Henderson can come out on top this weekend, she will earn the winner’s check in the amount of $195,000.
Not too bad for an amateur’s second weekend on the job.
[Image courtesy of Golf Week]