On a tour that's as saturated with talent as the LPGA is now, it's hard for one player to stand out and be dominant. However, after her win at the Meijer LPGA Classic, Brooke Henderson looks to be making a bid to do just that. Henderson shot a record-tying 21-under at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich. to win by one over four players -- one of whom was the previous week's champion, Lexi Thompson.
With nine tour wins, Henderson, who grew up in Ontario, became the winningest Canadian tour pro -- male or female -- in golf. Her win earlier this year at the LOTTE Championship tied her with Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson with eights. At only 21-years-old, if the past is an indication of the future, Henderson will surely build on that number. This is the fourth season in a row where Henderson has won more than once on the LPGA.
Starting the final round in Michigan, Henderson had a two-shot lead over Annie Park. The leaderboard was packed throughout the day, and it only got tighter when Henderson bogeyed the 16th hole. On the 18th tee, she needed a par or better to win the tournament. A bogey would have resulted in a five-way playoff. Henderson hit the short par 5 in two, and three-putted for par and the win.
"When I was walking up here I thought maybe I would have to birdie or eagle this hole to get the job done, but when I looked at the scoreboard I was sort of shocked that all I needed to do was three-putt and par," said Henderson. "So I'm really grateful about that because I don't know, I was shaking pretty bad on those last couple putts."
As to the keys to her win, there are a few. First, she loves the golf course. She won this event in 2017, and said the course reminds her of courses she grew up playing in Canada, so there's a level of comfort at Blythefield C.C..
Then there is her ball striking. In the first round, when Henderson shot an 8-under 64, she hit every green in regulation. Her pace slowed a bit over the next two rounds, hitting 12 greens in each. On the final day, she hit 14 of 18 greens. That many looks at birdie, it explains her 72-hole score of 21-under.
Finally, the Toronto Raptors' unlikely win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals on Thursday inspired her -- kind of.
"You know, it was so fun, my family and I, we really got behind the Raptors during the playoffs and we watched every game, which is really cool and it was just really exciting," said Henderson. "You know, I think it really boosted the whole country when they won and I was just trying to do something similar this week."
The week was also a success for Lexi Thompson, even though she wasn't the player holding the trophy on Sunday evening. Thompson won the week before at the Shoprite LPGA Classic. The week before that, she finished in a three-way tie for second at the U.S. Women's Open. At both the Shoprite and this week's event, Thompson finished the tournament by eagling the final hole. Her game is getting sharp at the right time, as the next major on the LPGA calendar, the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, will be played the week after the Meijer LPGA Classic at Hazeltine.