Tuesday afternoon, Brittany Henderson made her way onto the driving range at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Carrying her own bag, she managed to squeeze into a slot on the crowded range and began searching for golf balls lying around the range. Henderson laid her golf towel out on the ground and began scooping balls into it, returning to her slot on the range. As she worked through her bag, she made the trip to a nearby bucket of water where she dunked her towel and cleaned her clubs. Wasn’t this all her caddie’s responsibility? Where were they?
Her scheduled looper for the week was none other than sister Brooke Henderson, who shot a 68 to Monday qualify for this week’s Cambia Portland Classic. Her caddie duties were quickly forgotten. While the sisters were both in need of a caddie, it was a problem the duo was happy to have.
“The deal was gonna be if I didn’t Monday, I was going to try and caddy for Brit this week, which would have been interesting,” Brooke told LPGA.com this week. “But I’m glad I’m playing instead.”
The sisters quickly found a resolution, with their father Dave flying in Monday to loop for Brittany and family friend Bunk Lee taking up the bag for Brooke, who has caddied for her in the past. The girls regularly help each other out with caddie duties on the Symetra Tour, of which they are both members. This week marks the second start for the sisters on the LPGA Tour this season, having both teed it up earlier this year at the Manulife LPGA Classic in their home country of Canada where they both missed the cut.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Brooke. “Brit hasn’t got to play in a lot of LPGA Tour events, this will be the second this week and I think it’ll be really good for the both of us if we can both play well and play the weekend together.”
Brittany has been a regular help to Brooke, who has earned her way into eight events this season the LPGA Tour via Monday qualifying and sponsor’s exemptions. Brooke has posted three top-five finishes on the LPGA Tour as well as a victory on the Symetra Tour, where she hasn’t finished outside the top-10 this season. The success Brooke has found on both the LPGA and Symetra Tours this season has been a shared experience for the sisters, who have learned a lot this year bouncing between Tours.
“It’s awesome, the beginning of the year I didn’t really know where I was going to be playing, didn’t really have a full schedule,” said Brooke. “I was jumping back between a lot of different tours and mini tours and early in the year I’ve opened up a lot of doors and there’s been a lot of opportunities for me that I’m very happy about and very grateful for.”
One of those opportunities included a trip across the pond to play in the RICOH Women’s British Open at Turnberry where the Canadian finished T-61 but gained a lot of experience, giving her an entirely new perspective about playing in the U.S. and back home in Canada.
“It was an interesting week, a lot of different weather, a lot of different playing conditions. I learned a lot about myself and my game which I think will really benefit me in North America,” said Brooke. “When I first came home I was like ‘wow, golf is so easy over here!’”
Brooke made it look easy in round one of this week’s Cambia Portland Classic when she posted a bogey-free 6-under par 66 to finish the day one-stroke back of the lead. It’s just the latest success Brooke has found this season on the LPGA Tour in what has been a dream season for the 17-year-old hoping to earn her way onto the Tour at season’s end by way of the money list, with the top-40 earning status for next season. Henderson is currently projected at 20th.
“I have three events for sure now that I’ll be playing in and hopefully get some good finishes, top finishes and make some more money so it’s not as close as it is right now in the top-40,” Brooke said. “I think this year has been an amazing learning experience and hopefully next year I’ll be full time on the LPGA Tour and just learn from the experience I’ve gained this year.”
Brooke tees off at 1:38pm Friday afternoon.