Brooke Henderson Putting in the Work to Make a Run at Baltusrol
It’s been a lot of golf for Brooke Henderson of late, but there’s something special about the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her – and she’s as motivated as ever to have another solid result this week.
Henderson, who won the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her first major-championship triumph, is coming into this week at Baltusrol playing for the fifth week in a row. She withdrew from the Cognizant Founders Cup due to illness earlier in May and has been in action every week since then.
“I've been playing a lot of golf, just trying to get the game in good shape and get it rolling coming into this week and then (the U.S. Women’s Open) in two weeks,” Henderson said. “It's just been trying to put in the work and find it again and try to get a couple early birdies hopefully tomorrow and climb the leaderboard quick and hopefully just stay there for the next couple months.”
With 13 victories, Henderson is Canada’s winningest golfer on the LPGA or PGA Tour. She’s won two major championships, including the Evian Championship last year to go along with her 2016 triumph at the KPMG Women’s PGA. This major, despite it being contested on different golf courses each year, is the one she’s had the most consistent success at. She’s had just one finish outside the top-25 with five top-10s.
Since 2020, Henderson has had the most rounds in the 60s at major championships and she said her fine scoring effort on the game’s biggest stages is due to the fact that she thrives on the pressure-packed atmospheres.
“I love major championships. They're very challenging, and you have to play smart, and when the opportunity is there, then you can play a little bit aggressive. I feel like that suits my game really well,” Henderson said. “It's definitely going to be tough mentally and physically (this week at Baltusrol), but hopefully at the end of four rounds we're in a solid position.”
Henderson won the season-opening Tournament of Champions to kickstart her year with a bang, but she admitted the balance of her season has been a bit up-and-down since. Still, she said she’s been trying to build up her energy and focus to get ready for the next few months on the LPGA Tour – which she calls one of the most important stretches of the year.
“Just not maybe up to my standards or my goals. I wouldn't say it's been a terrible year so far. Starting out with a win was great. I've had some top 20s and top 30s. It's been all right. It's just I would prefer to be in contention a little bit more on the weekends,” Henderson said. “But it's not far away. I think over the next few weeks, it'll start to get back to where it should be.
“I definitely never take away the win or never take away the ups. I feel like golf, just like life, it's like a roller coaster. There's lots of up-and-downs, and hopefully there's more ups. When you're not playing your best, it kind of reminds you of how good it is and how exciting it is to win.”
With two majors already to her credit, Henderson knows that moving forward her career will be defined by how many majors she wins. Add into that her CPKC Women’s Open title in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2018 (she became the first Canadian to win her national open on the LPGA Tour in 45 years when she won) and Henderson is on the right track to have an impressive legacy left when she’s all done.
She got her first major win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship when she was just 19 so she avoided the “when will you win a major” question. Now she’s got two. And this week would be a great time to nab number three.
“This is definitely a time to start peaking and start to be on the up, so hopefully that happens,” Henderson said. “I feel like starting off the year on such a high has been a little bit down the last few months, but I feel like the game is right around the corner, and just staying patient to see the results.”