In April, Brooke Henderson won the HUGEL-Air Premia LA Open at Wilshire Country Club, a track that her game didn’t necessarily agree with a few years ago when she missed the cut. It’s a similar story on the Bay Course at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel, for the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. Although she played the weekend in each of her six previous appearances, including a tied for sixth finish in 2020, it started out as a course she didn’t look forward to playing.
The 10-time LPGA Tour champion opened with a 5-under 66 on Friday in Galloway, N.J. It’s safe to say, Henderson has turned the tables on another old nemesis.
“Yeah, like L.A. and this course, you have to learn how to play them,” Henderson said after a first-round score only bested by her moving-day 65 in the 2020 ShopRite Classic. “It goes against a lot of my natural instincts to hit (fairway) woods off tees and to lay up in certain spots. I think once I learned to play it like that and just trust it, then you start to have good scores. I think that's sort of what happened with me over the last few years here and definitely the case in L.A.”
Henderson recorded six birdies in the first round with only one hiccup at No. 15. It was a par save on No. 12, however, that the 24-year-old Canadian pointed to as the turning point for her solid start.
“I was 2-under and things were kind of at a tipping point, could go either way,” said Henderson. “I got a really bad lie, had to wait for a rules’ official and things were just getting a little bit more out of control than I would have liked. I was able to get up and down, which was great and made a birdie on the next hole.
“[Caddie and sister] Brit did a good job of keeping me in the moment and we made a lot of birdies coming in.”