Henderson saves the best for last, scores 5 under on final day of Canadian Open

Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

COQUITLAM, B.C. – She saved her best for last.

Brooke Henderson scored four of her five birdies on the back nine to card a 5-under 67 during Sunday’s final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.

The 17-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., used back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to finish the US$2.25-million tournament at 4 under.

She was the top Canadian, tied for 23rd place, and earned US$22,816.

It was a positive end for a hectic week for Henderson, who won her first LPGA tournament last weekend. It also was her way of rewarding the large crowds that have cheered her the whole tournament.

“I wanted to show and give the crowd a little bit of excitement,” she said. “I think today I did that.

“I knew I was capable of it. The other couple of days I was hitting the ball not too bad, but just wasn’t making any putts. Today they fell.”

Henderson was 1 under on the front nine, then began pounding the ball and dropping putts on the back. She boomed her tee shot on No. 17, then dropped her approach shot near the flag. On No. 18, she thrilled the crowd by sinking an eight-foot putt.

“It was a really fun day out there today,” she said. “To go four under on the back nine and finish birdie-birdie is definitely a cool feeling and definitely a momentum builder for this week.”

With her older sister Brittany acting as caddie for a second day, Henderson looked relaxed on the course. Wearing all black, she high-fived a young fan after No. 15 and gave a wave walking up the 18th fairway.

The tournament was a learning curve for the rising star. Henderson already had proven her talent on the course but her week at the Vancouver Golf Club gave her a taste of the outside distractions she must cope with as her career progresses.

Outside of golf circles Henderson was a relative unknown until last week. That changed when she won the Cambia Portland Classic, making her the youngest Canadian to win an LPGA or PGA event.

On Tuesday Henderson was granted her Tour card and there were already predictions she could win the Canadian Open.

Besides trying to get ready for the tournament, Henderson dealt with news conferences, television appearances and corporate appearances.

While playing this week Henderson drew large crowds. Afterwards fans of all ages sought autographs.

All pretty heady stuff for someone who can’t even legally drink in B.C.

“After a win, and coming back to Canada, I received a lot of attention,” she said. “It made my schedule extremely busy.

“It’s a great problem to have. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I can handle it. I think it will be good for the next time.”

After shooting a respectable 2 under on Thursday’s opening day, Henderson ballooned to a 3-over-75 Friday on the 6,681-yard, par-72 course. That left her at 1 over and just on the line that made the cut. She had a shaky start Saturday but then settled down to shoot even par and head into the final round at 1 over.

Overall Henderson was happy with the way the week went.

“I hit the ball pretty well,” she said. “Playing in front of all of these fans . . . I loved playing for them, and I loved playing in front of them.

“To have a solid day today, finish 5-under, was a great feeling.”