Thirteen-time LPGA Tour winner Brooke Henderson is back in the Garden State this week for her first title defense of 2023 season at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 10 won in a playoff over Lindsey Weaver-Wright in the 2022 edition of the event, carding an eagle on the first extra hole to take home her 11th career LPGA Tour title and the first of two wins that she would capture last season. This is Henderson’s ninth appearance at Seaview, a Dolce Hotel, and along with her win in 2022, she has two additional top-12 finishes, including a T2 that came in 2021. Back at a place that holds plenty of good memories for the 25-year-old, Henderson is looking forward to taking another crack at the Bay Course and seeing if she can successfully defend her title for the third time in her LPGA Tour career.
“Last year was such an exciting finish. To go so low on Sunday and really climb the leaderboard, that was so much fun. Then to get myself into a playoff, that was kind of the goal at the start of the day, to go as low as I could and see if I could have a chance to win,” said Henderson, who fired a final-round, 7-under 64 on Sunday last year. “Was able to make an eagle, which made it very exciting with all the fans surrounding the green. To get my 11th victory on Tour was very meaningful. I've been coming here a long time. I love this event. It has such a long list of incredible past champions, so I was really excited to be able to add my name to that list.”
Though she won wire-to-wire at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, Henderson has since had an incredibly up-and-down season. In her eight starts after that victory, she has uncharacteristically missed two cuts and hasn’t managed to crack the top 10, only coming as close as a T11 at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei.
Though she got off to a hot start last season, recording four top-10 finishes in her first five starts of 2022, Henderson came to last year’s ShopRite fresh off a T15 at the U.S. Women’s Open, having missed two cuts and withdrawn the three weeks prior to Pine Needles. The victory at Seaview seemed to really flip the momentum of her season, propelling her to the second major victory of her career three starts later at the Amundi Evian Championship, and Henderson is once again looking for that shift, especially with four majors looming large in the coming weeks.
“It was a dream start to the 2023 season. It's been up and down since, but this is where the really big events start happening with four majors left, and one in just two weeks from now. There is a long stretch of events, so I'm just hopefully going to ride some momentum and shoot some low scores and see if I can put myself in contention,” said Henderson. “I'm in the middle of a five-week stretch before I take a break. I feel like my game is improving and I’m getting the game where I need it to be, especially with the big events coming up and Meijer where I won before is always a really fun week to return to. So just trying to get the game rolling here, and hopefully we'll have a great rest of the summer.”