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Lotte Championship Rewind — Interview with Brooke Henderson — Must-click links in women's golf
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LOTTE Championship Rewind
Golf Channel recently ran an encore of the 2019 Lotte Championship, which was supposed to be played last week and has been postponed, so I figured why not take a look back at that event. Brooke Henderson won in 2018 and 2019, and will go for a three-peat in 2020 assuming it is played later in the year.
The LOTTE Championship started back in 2012 and has welcomed a star-studded field ever since. Brooke Henderson has been the highlight of that field the last couple years, after she successfully defend her title in 2019 to tie Sandra Post’s record of eight LPGA wins—which was the most victories by a Canadian player in LPGA Tour history at that time. Henderson now owns that record herself with now nine LPGA wins. It only took her a few more months following her LOTTE win to become the all-time winningest Canadian golfer, male or female.
After her first of two LOTTE Championship wins in 2018, she took home a $300,000 winner’s check and moved to 60th on the All-Time LPGA Money List with $5,300,981 in career earnings. Fast forward to today and she now has over $6.6 million in career earnings and is No. 7 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. The year 2018 was also Henderson’s third straight multi-win season and this trend continued into 2019, which proved to be an even more impressive season.
In 2019, she first and foremost became the all-time winningest Canadian golfer as noted above, but she also took home $1.6 million in earnings, made 15 cuts in 27 events and won the ESPY Award for “Best Female Golfer”, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame People’s Choice Award. In addition to winning the LOTTE Championship, she won the Meijer LPGA Classic for her ninth, record-setting victory.
To paint a picture of her 2019 win, Henderson overcame some pretty tough weather conditions to win by an impressive four strokes over Eun-Hee Ji. She elaborates on these conditions and why she feels like Hawaii suits her game down in the interview section. But here’s essentially how the action unfolded.
On a windy Sunday in Oahu, Brooke Henderson’s steady round of 70 was plenty to secure the trophy at the LOTTE Championship. A pack of players were close to Henderson at the start of the day, including Nelly Korda, who was tied with Henderson at 14-under. But the difficult conditions kept Korda and other notable players over par (two of whom where former World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn and four-time LPGA winner Minjee Lee). Henderson’s two-under 70 left her finishing the tournament at 16-under, winning by four over Eun-Hee Ji. (via Golf Digest)
Four was the magic number in 2018, too, after she finished four shots clear of runner-up Azahara Munoz. Henderson only led by one shot entering the final round after carding a 9-under through 54 holes. She had a pretty disheartening third round, with her putter going cold, but that wasn’t enough to hold her back from a really strong Sunday finish. She put a shaky third round behind her and took it one shot at a time the last 18 holes. Heading into the final round, Mo Martin was in second place and Nasa Hataoka and Inbee Park were tied for third at 7-under.
This was her first win of 2018 and it was also not long after the Humboldt tragedy where 16 people died when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos, a junior team in the Saskatchewan league, crashed when a tractor trailer collided with it. Henderson played with green and yellow ribbon in her hair that week, which were the team colors of the Humboldt Broncos. She spoke more to Golf Channel about her tribute.
It’s extremely sad, a terrible tragedy what happened up there. I know it kind of affected my whole country. Everybody really took it kind of personally…For all the survivors that are still fighting through it and all the ones that have passed away, I want to show them that we’re here for them and we’re supporting them. They’re always going to be in our thoughts and prayers.
An inspired Brooke Henderson certainly couldn’t be stopped that week. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see her and other young stars of the LPGA play again. Although the first LPGA event right now is slated for June, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, I don’t foresee it actually being played then. It will likely be a really busy fall and winter for all of the professional golf world. For all the down weeks now, we’ll definitely be making up for lost time come (hopefully) August!
This Week in Women’s Golf
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LPGA player are making a difference amidst COVID-19 uncertainty. LPGA.com has the scoop on these relief efforts.
The 2020 Senior LPGA Championship is cancelled, the LPGA reports.
Trending on social media: this duet between Tiff Joh and Jeehae Lee is pretty outstanding if you missed it last week.
The Korean LPGA Tour is coming back in May, says Golf News Net.
The LPGA looks back at some of best Lotte Championship dance moves.
Locked down in Italy, former Duke golfer preps for LPGA qualifiers (via WRAL Sports Fan).
Ten years later, Lorena Ochoa retiring at age 28, and at World No. 1, is still just as shocking. Golf Digest has the write-up.
From the Boston Herald: Megan Khang eager to get back out on the golf course.
From PGA.com: LPGA says thank you with #WeClapForeYou campaign.
I talked with PGA of America President Suzy Whaley about the Golf Emergency Relief Fund last week. Here’s the full episode.
The South China Morning Post caught up with the LPGA’s Tiffany Chan after she was quarantined for 14 days.
How can you help during this pandemic? Support charities that rely on golf.
Even if the 2020 Ryder Cup gets moved, the 2021 Solheim Cup will stay put, BBC Sport reports.
From the Albany Times Union: Dottie Pepper prepares to broadcast golf without spectators.
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Brooke Henderson
Brooke Henderson joined Golf Channel’s Morning Drive to recount her back-to-back victories at the Lotte Championship in 2018 and 2019. The 22-year-old Canadian reflects on all of her success (as the winningest Canadian golfer) and how she’s spending her time in quarantine—below are the highlights from her interview.
I. On her chance to three-peat: Back in 2017, I had a chance to three-peat in Portland and unfortunately came up a little short there. But I’m really looking forward to getting back on the course and hopefully winning at Lotte for the third time. It’d be really cool. It’d be a really hard feat but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
II. On the golf courses in Hawaii and her success: I mean it’s Hawaii; the atmosphere is amazing and I feel like every time I go there, I’m really positive. Fortunately for me, I feel really comfortable on that golf course. Even though the conditions are sometimes really crazy and really windy, I feel like I’ve been able to battle those. Britt and I [her caddy] have just done a good job of overcoming those obstacles.
III. On battling down the stretch in the windy conditions: When it’s that windy, you really focus on just one shot at a time. And I feel like when you’re in the moment, you’re coming down the stretch, that’s really key to do. Stay in the present and work on each shot. Having my sister there with me, we were able to talk through all the situations and make the best choice possible.
IV. On being the all-time winningest Canadian, male or female: To get that eighth win in Hawaii last year, it was an amazing feeling. To join Mike Weir, George Knudson, Sandra Post, who are all legendary players here in Canada and around the world. To join them at eight was a huge feat for me; I was really happy about that but I just wanted my ninth win to be as quickly as possible to get over those nerves and break through that record. Just a few months later, I was able to get that ninth win in June. It was just really exciting and I’m grateful I can be a part of history.
V. How she plans on getting back in form for the first major: The KPMG Women’s PGA has been a huge part of my life and it changed my life back in 2016 when I won my first major. And in a playoff against the No. 1 player in the world at the time Lydia Ko who is also a great friend. It was a meaningful event. If we’re fortunate to get the LPGA started this year at that event, I definitely look forward to it…safety and staying in isolation is the priority right now but hopefully we get back to a new normal soon.