Brooke Henderson wasn’t giving up no matter how far behind she fell on Sunday at the Amundi Evian Championship. The two-stroke lead she held at the start of the day evaporated by the first hole and she quickly fell to three-over par through her first 11 holes, but Henderson never stopped believing that she had a shot to win.
“The reminder that I wasn't out of it,” Henderson said she continued to think throughout the final round of the season’s third major. “I was playing poorly, and I was still in it. That was really an important message to get through my head.”
That no-quit, never-give-up attitude is one that has come to define the LPGA Tour. It was those characteristics that distinguished its original 13 Founders, and that same resolve has been adopted by players and staff alike throughout its more than 70-year history.
In 2019, Henderson was recognized with the Tour’s Founders Award, given to a player who embodies the same characteristics as its founding members. And on Sunday, Henderson’s fighting spirit was on full display as she clawed her way back to the top of the leaderboard to secure her second major title.
“Majors are won on the back nine on Sunday, and I was just trying to remind myself of that,” Henderson said after making three birdies on her final five holes. “Stay in it as long as I could and push towards the end.”
That same driving spirit lives on in the next generation of players. Like rookie Sophia Schubert.
The irony of Henderson’s position on Sunday was certainly not lost on those who had watched her win her maiden major title six years ago at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. In 2016, Henderson was in Schubert’s position as she was playing her first full season on Tour and mounted a come-from-behind charge with a closing round of 65 to force a playoff with Lydia Ko. Sunday in France, the roles were reversed as Henderson was the seasoned veteran holding off the charging rookie.
Schubert carded a career-low 65 on Friday to play her way into the conversation in just her second major start since joining the Tour. It was the stuff of dreams as Schubert fought back the urge to wonder, ‘what if?’ On Sunday, the rookie rebounded from a bogey at the second hole with four birdies to pull even with Henderson, who was forced to drain a birdie putt at the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff with Schubert.
“It was something that I always wanted. I knew I could get there,” Schubert said after her runner-up finish. “There was a little bit of doubt, but I mean, I couldn't be with better company.”
Thursday the Tour returns to Scotland, where Ryann O’Toole ended a more than decade-long fight of her own with her win last season. It was last year at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open where O’Toole earned her breakout win in her 11th year on Tour with a final round 64 to win by three ahead of the likes of Lydia Ko and Atthaya Thitikul.
The trip to Dundonald Links marks the first of a two-week stretch in Scotland which also includes the season’s fifth and final major of the year, the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield
The links will reward a player with the mental fortitude to endure ever-changing weather conditions combined with unpredictable breaks and bounces. It will take a player with a no-quit attitude to excel over the next two weeks on the links of Scotland. Another week, another fighter: it’s the way of the world on the LPGA Tour.