CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – It’s not quite a home game for Brooke Henderson this week, but it’s close enough to feel the support of an entire country.
Henderson, who had to bundle up in extra layers Tuesday at the Manulife LPGA Classic due to unseasonably chilly temperatures, had a warming reception from fans, volunteers, and fellow players alike as she arrived for her first day of practice at Whistle Bear Golf Club, one of 13 Canadians in the field.
Although Henderson hasn’t had the same kind of exciting start to her season like a year ago, she still feels like there are a lot of positives to be taken away from her play so far, with two top-10s on the season.
“Coming off such a great high last year it's been a little bit disappointing, but I feel like any game is extremely close,” said Henderson. “I think if I continue to be patient and make that one or two more putts early in the week, and hopefully once I feel the rush of the fans and feel their positive energy I can continue to improve and get better and get back to having some top-10 finishes.”
The 19-year-old said she has been working specifically on her short game and admitted that, in sports, the line for success is so thin. She said she is close to breaking out again.
“I feel like my ball-striking has been the best maybe it's ever been the last few weeks,” she explained. “I'm really excited. When everything comes together I can get a top 5, top 3, and maybe that win here in a few weeks.”
Henderson was inside the top 10 last week at the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by ACER before being derailed by a Sunday 78.
“I played really well on Friday and Saturday and was T8 going into the final round, which is a great position. It's really exciting to know that I am competing against the best in the world. If I had a couple putts drop early on Sunday then it could have been a different story,” said Henderson. “It was really windy, tough conditions. I wasn't feeling my best. Things kind of got off to a shaky start. I birdied the last hole, so that's good momentum for this week.”
With the excitement of playing one of two events in Canada, Henderson said there is a little more pressure this week, but it’s pressure she’s relishing.
“I love big crowds. I love playing in front of all my fans,” explained Henderson. “I hope a lot of people come out and a lot of people support, and hopefully I can put on a good show for them.”