23-year-old Smiths Falls, Ontario, wins first victory since 2019
Canadian Brooke Henderson came together to win the HUGEL Air Premia LA Open on Saturday for her 10th LPGA Tour title, contributing to birdie in par 3 12th in an initial back-nine explosion and rising and falling through the pair in the last.
Four strokes behind leader Jessica Korda and three behind first placed Jin Young Ko entering the sunny and airy day at the Wilshire Country Club, native of Smiths Falls, Ont., Closed with his second consecutive 4-under 67 for a streak victory over Korda .
Henderson has more top-notch golf titles than any Canadian.
“I definitely firmly believe that when you’re in the winner’s circle, you’re having a lot of opportunities and you’re kind of destined to be,” said Henderson. “I was making a lot of birdies and I think probably the biggest chance was 12, that chip-in. You know, these breaks can be very small or they can be very big.”
Henderson, 23, cut par 4 in 11th to take the lead with 15 under, hitting a 144 yard kick 3 feet from the back, right hand. She made a 21-meter hole from the right and below the green at 12, and made a 6 foot birdie stroke on the short par 4 14th.
“I just tried to make solid contact and I fell in my place, and that was definitely a big bonus,” said Henderson of 12th. “It was going to be very difficult. So it was a big change of momentum and a big point in my round today.”
She bogeyed the par-4 17 to cut her lead to two. In par 3 18th with Korda in position for a short birdie putt, Henderson hit 2 feet for the pair after his iron shot 8 rolled off the edge of the green and into a low collection area.
“Definitely a lot of clutch,” said Henderson. “It’s not where I wanted the opening shot to be, so being able to go up and down there for the win was really cool, especially right after Jessica had a great shot and put a lot of pressure on me to pair.”
Sixth placed Henderson won for the first time since the Meijer LPGA Classic in June 2019. She finished 16-under 268 to break the record for the 14 under event set by Minjee Lee in 2019.
Later, Henderson also expressed his feelings about his home province’s decision to close golf courses as part of the decision to stay home when she was asked about the Ontario government’s move.
“I think golf is a great way to be outdoors and get some exercise, and it’s really a shame that they are closed now,” said Henderson.
“I hope they open up sooner or later. It’s a great way to … get exercise, fresh air and also have a little socializing doing it quite safely.”
Henderson said he is not going to Asia for the next two LPGA tournaments, instead choosing to return to his base in Florida.
Korda birdied the latter by 72, losing the chance for his second victory of the year after leading after each of the first three rounds. She won the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January for her sixth LPGA Tour title.
Really frustrating, I really couldn’t do anything, “said Korda.” I was getting it right and then it just wasn’t happening to me for some reason. It continued to get screwed and the wind continued to decrease and increase. .. it just wasn’t happening. I do not know.”
She parred the first six and bogeyed us. 7 and 9, made his first birdie of the day at par 5 13, then hit back at 14
“I tried. I tried to force some birdies,” said Korda. “I put an excellent little iron 8 on par 5 15 and make the biggest jump I’ve ever seen and go beyond the green.”
While Henderson made his move at the beginning of defense nine, Ko bogeyed the 11th and 12th in a 72 that left her tied with Australia’s Hannah Green 14th below. The South Korean star was coming off a two-week break after finishing seventh at ANA Inspiration.
“It was difficult,” said Ko. “The wind was tough outside … I couldn’t concentrate on my game.”
Green eagled the 14th and birdied the par-5 15th in a 66.
Top champions So Yeon Ryu (68) and Angela Stanford (70) drew fifth at 12 under.