Behind an early surge and a late stand, Brooke Henderson wins LA Open

Brooke Henderson hits her tee shot on Saturday on the 2nd hole at Wilshire Country Club.

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Brooke Henderson, as a kid in Canada, played goalie. And while being peppered with pucks, she learned some things. 

“To be a goalie, you have to be a little bit strange, a little bit odd,” Henderson once told the Hockey Canada website

“Being a goalie, there’s a lot of pressure, and I was able to handle that pretty well. Now playing golf for a living, having that pressure as a goalie has really prepared me for every single week out on tour.”

Like this week. Like Saturday. Like the par-3 18th at Wilshire Country Club.

Trailing by four shots entering the final round of the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open, Henderson surged ahead by one with a birdie on 11, she built it to two with a birdie chip-in on 12, and she moved it to three with a birdie on 14. Then came the slap shots. 

  • She bogeyed 17, and the lead was two. 
  • Jessica Korda, who led after each of the first three rounds and was now tied for second, hit to within about 8 feet on 18. 
  • Henderson then hit over the green and down a slope. 
  • Henderson chipped to within a yard, but Korda would make her birdie, and the lead was one.   

Defeat was denied at the doorstep. 

Henderson made her putt, and she raised her arms in victory. 

Henderson, behind a four-under 67, held on for a one-shot win over Korda, her first win since the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give in June of 2019, and the 23-year-old’s 10th victory overall. Jin Young Ko, the world No. 1, and Hannah Green finished two strokes back, and Angela Stanford and So Yeon Ryu four.

“I think as I age I’m getting more nervous, but I was just really happy with how I went out today,” Henderson said on Golf Channel after the round. “I was a lot of shots back, but I said to myself just keep the same game plan and try to make as many birdies as I could. And I’m really happy with how everything turned out.”

It was Henderson who was applying the pressure at the start. 

She birdied the par-5 2nd and the par-4 5th. After a bogey on the par-4 6th, she birdied the par-3 7th. On the par-4 11th, she hit her approach to within 2 feet for another birdie and the one-shot lead. On the par-3 12th, she missed the green, but chipped over the slope in front of her and made her fifth birdie. She added another on the par-4 14th. 

“I was definitely disappointed that I missed the green there, but fortunately I had a lot of green to work with,” Henderson said on Golf Channel of the 12th hole. “My line wasn’t great so Britt [Henderson, her sister and caddie] said it’s going to come in low and hot, and it did a little bit. But to catch the hole there and make birdie was definitely a huge momentum change, and I think that’s what won it for me today.”  

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.