AURORA, Ont.– The crowd support for Brooke Henderson on home soil has always been palpable. The crowds grow larger as she progresses through the round. The energy permeates a golf course when the Canadian makes a birdie.
But during the adverse moments of a round, having the raucous Canadian fans as confidence boosters always serves Henderson well. At one moment in her third round at the CP Women’s Open, she was seven strokes back, slowly falling out of contention. It was then a little boy extended out his hand to give Henderson a high five. She did the same and immediately, the script was flipped.
The 21-year-old would shoot a seven-under 65, launching her into the final group on Sunday and two strokes back of the lead. The title defense still very much a distinct possibility.
“I felt like I was playing decent golf,” said Henderson after her round. “Things weren’t going my way. But when the little boy gave me a high five and continued that the rest of the round, it cheered me up.”
Henderson’s Early Struggles Quashed with Riveting Back 9 Performance
Sitting three back heading into Moving Day, Brooke Henderson was in a solid position. With only two golfers in front of her, the Canadian was poised for a low round to project her up the leaderboard.
But the start was similar to her second round on Friday. Effective shots but missed opportunities. In her first seven holes, Henderson missed only one fairway. But was two-over-par on her round, which included bogeys on holes where she landed the ball in the fairway. Her wedge and iron play resulted in shots landing on the steep, front part of the green, rolling back into the fairway.
“I was slightly missing it and not catching the breaks,” admitted Henderson. “The wind was swirling, Brittany and I couldn’t figure it out.”
In addition to the little boy giving the Canadian golf star a high five, Henderson admits the importance of having Brittany was in that difficult situation. Sisters first, but Brittany as a caddie has been the rock for her sister when adversity starts to mount on the course.
“She was trying to keep me calm,” stated Henderson. “She was trying to keep me relaxed and motivated to keep trying to make birdies.”
Luckily for Brooke Henderson, the switch eventually came on. With birdies on the par-3 8th and par-5 9th, the golfing prodigy got back to even par for the day, despite the early struggles. What would ensue on the Back 9 would capture not just the patrons at Magna Golf Club but fans of sport across Canada.
The hole became like a bucket for Henderson, who would generate five birdies and an eagle on the Back 9. No length of putt seemed too daunting for the youngster, who quickly raised the spirit and enthusiasm of fans cheering her on.
Brooke Henderson Embracing Role as Chaser of History
“It was nice to have my putter on my side,” affirmed Henderson, after going nine-under through ten holes from holes 8 to 17. “I felt really confident with it. My speed was good and as long as I was seeing the line they seemed to be falling.”
As a result of her brilliant stretch of golf, Brooke Henderson joins the final group, along with Nicole Broch Larsen and World No. 1 Jin Young Ko. With the large Korean population supporting Ko and the Canadian contingent behind Henderson, it will provide an amphitheater for the enthralling drama that transcends the sport.
At just 21 years old, Henderson has already cemented her place into Canadian golf history. With nine wins on the LPGA Tour, she is the winningest golfer (male or female) from Canada. Tomorrow, the Smith Falls, Ontario native is not just the chaser of the top spot on the leaderboard but also of Canadian Women’s Open history. No golfer from Canada has ever successfully defended the title and Henderson would be the first since Lydia Ko (2013) to win back to back national championships.
The majority of Henderson’s wins have come from her in front after 54-holes. Chasing the lead, the “nothing to lose” mentality will embody Canada’s top golfer. No challenge has ever stopped her before. Expect Henderson to once again show resilience and toughness as she looks to be at the top of the leaderboard after the 72nd hole.
“It will be a fun challenge for me tomorrow,” said Henderson. “It takes a bit of pressure off because I have nothing to lose. I can go out there and be more aggressive.”