While Lindsey Weaver-Wright finished her round at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, Canada’s Brooke Henderson got ready.
Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., held a one-shot lead over the American, but with No. 18 a par-5, the Canadian knew that a playoff was a distinct possibility. Sure enough, Weaver-Wright birdied the hole and forced an extra hole of golf at the LPGA event.
Henderson had made the most of her time waiting for Weaver-Wright and gotten prepared.
“It was a bit of a long wait, which makes it tricky,” said Henderson. “I just tried to eat a lot to get the energy up, and then I just went to the locker room and just reflected a little bit.
“I was just grateful for the opportunity to go out there.”
Henderson’s preparation paid off in an eagle on the playoff hole — again on the par-5 No. 18 at Seaview Bay Course in Galloway, NJ — to win her 11th title on the LPGA Tour. She was already the winningest professional golfer in Canadian history, but her latest victory added to her ongoing legacy.
WATCH | Henderson has big final round to claim title:
She started Sunday in ninth, well back of Sweden’s Frida Kinhult, the tournament’s leader after two rounds. But Kinhult faltered on Sunday with a 4-over round as Henderson came out firing with three birdies and an eagle on the front nine to close the gap, peppering in two more birdies on the back nine for a bogey-free 7-under round.
“To start the day if they would’ve said ‘you’re in a playoff to win’ I would’ve been super happy,” said Henderson. “I just tried to take that mindset. With playoffs you really only have one opportunity, so you kind of have to give it your all and go to win.
“I just tried to hit solid shots and I was able to make eagle there, which is really cool.”
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Weaver-Wright, who finished her round after Henderson, birdied her final two holes to tie the Canadian at 12-under overall and force the playoff.
“I was just like extremely calm out there the last three days,” said Weaver-Wright. “It’s kind of strange. Never felt like that before really but, it was nice not to get so worked up.
North of the border, word started to spread of Henderson’s win at the PGA Tour’s RBC Canadian Open at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., the low Canadian at the national men’s golf championship, was thrilled when he heard the news.
“I’m blown away. She’s incredibly talented. From all Canadians, congrats Brooke, that’s really special,” said Conners, who was Henderson’s teammate on the Canadian Olympic team at the 2021 Tokyo Games. “Eleven wins on the LPGA Tour is so amazing and I’m sure she’s far from done with that.
The 24-year-old Henderson said that at the start of her career she was usually winning two tournaments per year. She said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed that momentum down a little and she’s eager to get back to that winning pace.
“This one was I guess a little over a year, but feels like a long time I guess when you’re used to winning a little bit more consistently,” she said. “It feels great. I just want to hold on to this a little bit longer.
“I love being in the final groups on the weekend. That’s the goal moving forward.”