So Yeon Ryu may be the defending champion this week, but much of the focus at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open will be on a special teenager.
Canadian Brooke Henderson, 17, will tee it up at Vancouver Golf Club in this week’s $2.25 million event as an LPGA tournament champion. The talented teen became the first Canadian to win on Tour since Lorie Kane in 2001 with her eight-stroke victory at the Cambia Portland (Ore.) Classic, and she will arrive in Vancouver with considerable fanfare.
Henderson joined former world No. 1 Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson as the only players to win a tournament before their 18th birthday and is the Tour’s first Monday qualifier to win an event since Laurel Kean in 2000. In addition, her 21-under-par total was a tournament record, and she now has five top-10 finishes on the season.
The determined teen will be looking to continue that momentum this week against Ryu and a host of other talented stars that include Ko and Thompson. Whether it’s world No. 1 Inbee Park, two-time and reigning Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis or two-time 2015 tournament winners Sei Young Kim and Na Yeon Choi, Henderson will have her hands full this week.
Last year, Ryu finished at 23-under-par, two strokes clear of Choi and five ahead of Park, so the Republic of Korea contingent was well-represented atop the leaderboard. That could be the case again this year, but there will be plenty of top-notch players posting red numbers.
Ko won the tournament in 2012 the last time it was played at Vancouver Golf Club with a 13-under-par total, and it was the first of two straight for the teenage phenom. The field is loaded and includes 2015 tournament champions Chella Choi, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordqvist, Minjee Lee, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr, Hyo Joo Kim and Amy Yang.
That’s quite a group, and it should make for great TV on Golf Channel, especially considering many of those players finished in the top 10 at Vancouver Country Club in 2012. Chella Choi had the low round of the tournament, a 64, that year on the par-72, 6,656-yard course, and it could be in jeopardy this week since a number of top talent is in fine form.
This week’s event is the final chance for U.S. players to earn Solheim Cup points and is part of a three-week stretch that will precede a week off before the Tour’s final major, The Evian Championship, Sept. 7-13. So, there is plenty to play for this week.
It should be compelling theater.