Masson Primed for First Title Defense
In 2016, Germany’s Caroline Masson, picked up her first victory on the LPGA Tour at the Manulife LPGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club, defeating Karine Icher, Minjee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee by one stroke. Masson started the day three shots back of the lead and fired a final round 6-under 66 to step inside the winner’s circle.
“Obviously this week is really special to me,” Masson said after a practice round on Tuesday. “It’s my first time defending, and, yeah, I’m just trying to soak it all in and trying to bring back those memories and those feeling that I had last year winning.”
Ever since the final putt dropped in 2016, Masson has been waiting to hear her name called on the first tee as the defending champion. “I think it’s a pretty cool moment hopefully to be introduced as the defending champion,” she said. “After that, it’s just another golf tournament. I have to focus on my golf and get that mindset that obviously I want to win this week, like I want to every week.”
When Brooke Henderson teed it up at last year’s Manulife LPGA Classic, the 2015 LPGA rookie was already a three-time LPGA winner, a major champion and a successful Cambia Portland Classic title defender.
It’s been 26 starts since the Smith Falls, Ontario, native last found herself in the winner’s circle, but she says that’s no cause for panic. “I think if I continue to be patient and make that one or two more putts early in the week,” Henderson said on Tuesday, “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.”
This week marks Henderson’s third appearance in her home country at the Manulife LPGA Classic, and while she has yet to post a top-25 finish, she likes her odds this week. “I haven’t had a great finish here yet at the Manulife Classic, especially since it’s moved to Whistle Bear,” Henderson said, “but I really like the course and I think it’s going to set up well for my game this week.”
While she hasn’t had a top-10 performance in her home country, she likes the excitement that comes with it. “Of course there is going to be a little bit more pressure,” she said. “But I love big crowds. I love playing in front of all my fans. 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.”
“Coming home, seeing fans, I want to really show them how much I appreciate their support every single week.”
- On what Brooke Henderson is looking forward to this week
“Four majors still left, and I can have the chance to go and defend my first major championship in a few weeks down at Olympia Fields, and then I have a chance to go and defend in Portland again for the third time later this summer.”
- Henderson on what she’s got on her mind for the rest of the season
“Reminds me a little bit of home with just how everything looks and how green it is.”
- German native Caroline Masson on why she likes coming to Whistle Bear Golf Club
- Brooke Henderson is one of 13 Canadians teeing it up in their home country this week at Whistle Bear Golf Club
- Henderson is one of only seven Tour players to have started in all 13 LPGA tournaments this season, collecting 10 top-25 finishes, two top-10s and a season-best T4 at the HSBC Women’s Champions
- Heading into this week, Henderson is ranked third among Tour players for number of birdies with 168
- Last season, Henderson became the second-youngest player in LPGA history to win a major championship with her victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (18y/9m/2d), trailing only Lydia Ko
- Also last season, Henderson made the most starts on Tour (31), had the second-most top-10s (15) and finished third on the LPGA Official Money List
- In three starts at the Manulife LPGA Classic, Caroline Masson has finished 10th (2014), T19 (2015) and first (2016)
- In 10 starts this season, Masson has made eight cuts and posted four top-25 finishes, including a season-best T10 finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, where she also has her lowest tournament score to par of -19
- Masson is the highest ranked German player in the world at No. 58 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings
- Masson has been a member of Team Europe in the last two Solheim Cups (2013, 2015), and in May was part of a Team Europe practice round at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club (site of the 2017 Solheim Cup)
Sponsor Spotlight: Thank You Manulife
While this is the final year of the Manulife LPGA Classic, all of us at the LPGA are incredibly grateful for the partnership we enjoyed with Manulife and the Kitchener-Waterloo area! We will certainly do our best to bring an LPGA tournament back to this area and these tremendous golf fans.
Activities of interest during tournament week:
#RedDayFriday - spectators, pro golfers, volunteers and the community are encouraged to wear Red on Friday, June 9
Support Manulifematch.com - until Sunday, June 11, all donations to St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation through the Manulife Match program are doubled by Manulife!
On Saturday, June 10, Manulife Bank will host an on-site event that will give spectators the chance to qualify to make a putt for $50,000 on the 18th green at Whistle Bear Golf Club.