Brooke Henderson managed to hold off all challengers Sunday as she captured her fourth LPGA Tour title at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. Henderson, who had some of the biggest names on the LPGA Tour chasing her all day including Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson, fired a bogey-free 3-under-par 66 (as the par-5 5th hole was once again converted to a par 3 because of standing water in the fairway).
“Just super excited right now,” said Henderson. “I played really steady golf today, and that putt on No.16 was really huge. Especially looking back now, it’s even bigger than what I thought it was. It’s really cool to be able to make those putts under pressure. The leaderboard is packed. There are so many great names up there, so to finish on top is really exciting.”
Henderson was close to perfect tee-to-green Sunday hitting 11 of 12 fairways and missing only two greens all day. “It was really tough today. To shoot 3-under and I don’t think I had any bogeys today either, which was great. The wind really picked up. I was kind of surprised when I looked at the leaderboard and I had a two-shot lead on the 18th green,” she said. “Super happy and I’m just glad it’s done and I finally have my fourth win.”
The 19-year-old celebrated Father’s Day with her sister Brittany (her full-time caddy) and parents Dave and Darlene Henderson who were both on site for the victory. “This morning (my Dad) said, ‘Do it for me,’ so this is definitely for him,” said Henderson of her father. “He’s my coach, my best friend and a great father, so thank you, Dad!”
Wie, who finished tied for second with Thompson, notched her best finish of the season. She didn’t make any bogeys Sunday, but couldn’t get anything going on the back nine as she went 4-under for her first eight holes, but parred No’s 9 through 18 to finish two shots back. “It was tough out there,” said Wie. “The wind just started blowing and it was just interesting. Some spots are really wet, some spots are dry, but overall I felt like I played good this week and I’m happy about it.” Thompson, meanwhile, came up just short for the second week in a row, having lost in a playoff at the Manulife LPGA Classic last week. She had a chance to tie Henderson’s score at 17-under but she had to drain her approach from the fairway on the 72nd hole, and it was not to be.
Henderson makes 15 different winners so far on the LPGA Tour in 2017, and Thompson said that speaks to the depth of talent on the Tour. “It’s such a global tour, so it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, it’s what you bring to the table,” she said. “You never know who’s going to win when you tee it up, so you just have to hope it’s you.”
Moriya Jutanugarn finished in a tie for fourth with Su Oh and Madelene Sagstrom, her best finish of the season and her fifth top-10 finish of 2017. Jutanugarn had a chance to nip Henderson but three bogeys in her final six holes were her ultimate undoing.
Jutanugarn said she learned a lot this week. “I’ve been playing solid. A lot of things I learned about this week and it is always fun to play solid and have a chance to get close to the lead and be on the leaderboard,” she explained. “It was great.”
Sagstrom, meanwhile, admitted 2017 has been a bit of a roller coaster, however, she was excited with her tie for fourth this week at the Blythefield Country Club. “It’s been rough. This year has been very much up-and-down,” said Sagstrom. “It’s been a journey for sure and I am slowly but surely climbing the ladder. This is just proving to myself that I’m on the right track and that I’m doing good things and that I can be out here and play against the best players, for sure.” Danielle Kang, Carlota Ciganda, and Hyo Joo Kim were one shot further back than Sagstrom, Jutanugarn and Oh. They finished at 13-under for the week and all finished tied for 7th.
In her first tournament since overtaking Lydia Ko as No.1 on the Rolex Rankings, Ariya Jutanugarn finished tied for 22nd, while Ko finished at 12-under, tied for 10th with Mi Jung Hur and Jacqui Concolino.
(Photo by Getty Images.)