Brooke Henderson finally got LPGA commissioner Mike Whan to accept her petition, only it wasn’t for the LPGA. Henderson, 17, became the third-youngest winner on the Symetra Tour June 21 at the Four Winds Invitational. She petitioned to join the tour immediately and will compete in the next two Symetra stops leading up to the U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club.
Henderson had competed twice on the Symetra Tour in 2015, finishing first at Four Winds and tied for second with older sister Brittany at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in March. Money from those two events won’t count toward the official money list. The top 10 players on the Symetra money list at season’s end earn their 2016 LPGA cards.
Henderson shot 72-65-69 at Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend, Ind., for a 10-under 206 total. She finished three shots ahead of Selanee Henderson, no relation.
“It’s amazing to win and I’m so thankful that I got the sponsor’s exemption this week so I’d be able to play with my older sister,” said Henderson. Brittany Henderson is currently 26th on the money list.
Soon after Brooke Henderson tied for fifth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she traveled to her native Smiths Falls, Ontario, to compete in a Canadian Women’s Tour event on her home course.
“There were a ton of people,” said Brooke. “We had bigger crowds the last two days than I’ve had at some LPGA tour events.”
Brooke finished second in the two-day event, three strokes behind the LPGA’s Rebecca Lee-Bentham. From there she traveled to South Bend, Ind., for the Symetra event, her second pro event in one week.
“I’ve been busy,” Brooke said, “but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
In seven starts on the LPGA, Brooke has amassed $317,470 in unofficial earnings. That would place her 20th on the money list. She needs to finish the equivalent of top 40 on the LPGA money list at season’s end to avoid Q-School (unless she wins, of course).
Big purses at the remaining three majors would certainly help, as well as the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open (Aug. 20-23). Henderson is in the U.S. Women’s Open based on her top-10 finish in 2014. She’s expected to receive an invite into the Ricoh Women’s British Open and would play her way into the Evian Championship should she climb into the top 40 of the Rolex Rankings. She’s currently 49th.
Brooke competed three weeks in a row on the LPGA before winning on Sunday in South Bend. Add in the Canadian Tour event and two more Symetra starts and the Women’s Open will be her eighth start in seven weeks.
Should Henderson win twice more on the Symetra Tour, she would be promoted to play on LPGA out of category 13 (for unofficial money).
Henderon’s agent, Kevin Hopkins of IMG, said her schedule will be somewhat fluid after the Women’s Open, with LPGA Monday qualifiers mixed in with Symetra starts.
Henderson has a goal in mind, and she’s well aware that she has limited time to make it happen. Last year, Hee Young Park finished 40th on the money list with $447,658. There’s still work to be done.
“I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else,” said Henderson of her hectic life. “I’m sort of living the dream.”
courtesy of Beth Ann Nichols (Golfweek.com)