Features — 23 August 2011

Megan Cheung for Front Page Media

Thirteen-year-old Brooke Henderson just missed the cut for the CN Canadian Women’s Open on Monday in Blainville, Que. The amateur golfer from Smith Falls, Ont. shot 2-over-par 74 in the open qualifier for this week’s LPGA Tour event. Henderson fell just short of the fourth and final spot – finishing in a five-way tie for fifth place.


Brooke Henderson off the tee during qualifications for the CN Canadian Women's Open in Blainville, Quebec. Photo by Marc DesRosiers/ Front Page Media



“I was trying to go under par but a couple bad holes kept me from that,” Henderson said.

Brooke Henderson places the ball back on the green at the Canadian Women's Open Qualifier. Photo by Marc DesRosiers/ Front Page Media


Three bogeys and one costly double bogey on the 13th hole slowed her game down.


“We were in the left bunker up against the lip and Brooke was protecting it from going left. We got a bad break because it hit the asphalt and bounced into the bush,” explained her father and caddy, Dave Henderson.


Her first attempt at the LPGA wasn’t rough from start to finish though. Already one of Canada’s top junior players, Henderson showed she could compete with professionals and even out-drive them. She hit her stride during a five-hole stretch with two birdies on the 8th and 12th par-5 holes.




“It’s a good experience to play amongst them,” she said. Henderson first played amongst the pros at the CN Canadian Women’s Tour in Beloeil, Que. in June. She finished in the middle of the pack.


The focused teenager has been exceptionally busy this past summer – winning championships and turning heads in the golf community. Earlier this month, she had a standout run at the U.S. Women’s Amateur golf championship and survived the cuts to qualify for the top 32. In July, she won the girls (ages 13-14) division at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in Florida.


Brooke Henderson at the Canadian Women's Open Qualifier. Photo by Marc DesRosiers/ Front Page Media



“That’s a terrific achievement because nobody even makes the cut on those, let alone wins them,” her father said. He described a group of 15-20 unknown Montreal fans, mostly grandmas and parents, who cheered in spectacular fashion when Brooke won.


“They stood up and gave her a standing ovation in front of a world crowd – because somebody from Smith Falls had just won a world championship,” he said.






Brooke Henderson has only a few more games left before going back to school and deciding on her future. Photo by Marc DesRosiers/ Front Page Media



So will Brooke pursue this sport professionally or follow in her older sister’s footsteps? (Brittany Henderson, 20, attends Coastal Carolina University on a golf scholarship).


“That’s up to her. She’s got a long way to go. She’s nowhere near her potential or peak. You can be great at 13 and be nothing at 14, but that’s the same as everybody. You’re only as good as your last event.”


For the time being, Henderson is off to a great start and she’s looking around the corner. With only one scheduled tournament at the beginning of September, she’s preparing for what all teenagers must face: high school.

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