ShopRite LPGA Classic
Brooke Henderson's latest LPGA win has its own unique backstory
Brooke Henderson went low on Sunday. She had to. After her first two rounds of the 54-hole ShopRite LPGA Classic, she was four shots off the lead. It was going to take a score like the bogey-free 64 she posted at the Seaview Bay Course in the final round to climb the leaderboard to 12 under. Then she waited with the clubhouse lead to see who could top her.
Lindsey Weaver-Wright, in her fifth year on tour, finished birdie-birdie to force a playoff. For Weaver-Wright, a win would’ve been the first of her career. For Henderson, it’d be her 11th. Experience prevailed in Galloway, N.J., as Henderson ended the playoff in one hole with an eagle.
“I thought I was too far back going into today,” Henderson said Sunday after the win. “I tried to go as low as I could and see what happened, and here we are.”
This is the first time the 24-year-old Canadian has won in about a year; her last win was at the 2021 Hugel-Air Premia LA Open. Since that win, she’s made two big changes in her game. One was forced.
In October 2021, the USGA and R&A announced the maximum driver shaft length would be reduced from 48 inches to 46 inches. The LPGA and PGA tours promptly announced they would be implementing the rule. On the LPGA, that meant star Brooke Henderson had to shorten her driver shaft.
“The driver is very unfortunate that I had to switch. It's been a lot of extra hard work that I had to put in, a lot of extra testing and trying to get the right thing,” Henderson said. “About a month and a half ago I switched again to a new shaft that has been working great.”
She hit every fairway in her final round and averaged 264 yards off the tee for the week.
The other change in her game has been her putting. Henderson admits that it’s an area she needs to work on (she’s ranked 87th on tour in strokes gained/putting). She’s implemented a new grip, left-hand low, and this is her first win with that grip.
As Henderson talked about her win, the value of each win was made apparent. She joked about not wanting to put the trophy down. Only 46 women in history have won more times on the LPGA Tour than Henderson, yet she feels the value of each win more now than ever. After cruising through seasons with multiple wins, 2020 was Henderson’s first winless season since 2015, her rookie season. In the four events leading up to the ShopRite, she had a withdrawal and two missed cuts.
“I've always loved a victory and never tried to take them for granted, but with the pandemic in 2020 I only played 10 events, and I think I had six top-10s but no victory,” Henderson said. “So that was a little bit of a … it shook the confidence a little bit.”
Now, the No. 11 player in the world has a driver that works well for her, a putting grip she trusts and 11 LPGA wins to her name. Add in the $262,500 winner’s check, and she now joins the $9 million club in career earnings. With the season’s next major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, just around the corner, Henderson repeated one word over and over in her post-round press conference: excited.