Cana­dian’s win ded­i­cated to Hum­boldt Bron­cos

Hen­der­son think­ing of tragedy as she takes Hawaii LPGA event

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports -

For the fi­nal two days of the Lotte Cham­pi­onship, it was pretty clear that the only golfer who could beat Brooke Hen­der­son was Brooke Hen­der­son.

She wasn’t about to let it hap­pen Satur­day at windy Ko Olina Golf Club, where she won by four shots. The Smiths Falls, Ont., na­tive was too tal­ented, and she had some very im­por­tant people to play for, ded­i­cat­ing her vic­tory to the people in­volved in the Hum­boldt Bron­cos ju­nior hockey team bus crash in Saskatchewan.

“It’s ex­tremely sad, a ter­ri­ble tragedy what hap­pened up there,” Hen­der­son said. “I know it kind of af­fected my whole coun­try. Every­body re­ally took it kind of per­son­ally.

“For all the sur­vivors that are still fight­ing through it and all the ones that have passed away, I want to show them that we’re here for them and we’re sup­port­ing them. They’re al­ways go­ing to be in our thoughts and pray­ers.”

Cana­dian golfers and their cad­dies were wear­ing green and gold rib­bons at the tour­na­ment this week to hon­our the vic­tims of the April 6 crash. Twenty-nine people were on the team bus when it col­lided with a semitruck en route to a play­off game in Ni­pawin, Sask. Six­teen of them have died and 13 were in­jured.

Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, who fin­ished in a tie for 44th place at 4 over, had posted a pic­ture on Twit­ter of one of the rib­bons pinned to the side of her hat on Tues­day.

Hen­der­son, who won’t be 21 un­til Septem­ber, won her sixth LPGA Tour ti­tle, leav­ing her just two short of San­dra Post for most wins by a Cana­dian player.

She col­lected $300,000, giv­ing her nearly $500,000 this year and $4 mil­lion in her three-year ca­reer. Her fi­nal-round 3-un­der 69 left her at 12 un­der, four ahead of Aza­hara Munoz, whose 67 was the low round on a very dif­fi­cult scor­ing day.

It was Munoz’s best fin­ish in more than four years. Hen­der­son and sixth-ranked Ariya Ju­tanu­garn (69) were the only other golfers to break 70 on a day that fea­tured rain squalls and winds gust­ing to 30 m.p.h..

“Crazy windy again” said Hen­der­son, who was third in greens in reg­u­la­tion (52 of 72) and sixth in driv­ing dis­tance (288.8) for the week. “Just be­ing able to ad­just to it, kind of stay poised in it. Things aren’t go­ing to al­ways go per­fectly, but I felt like my ball strik­ing was prob­a­bly the best it’s ever been.”

Ju­tanu­garn tied for third, five back, with top-ranked Shan­shan Feng (71) and third-ranked In­bee Park (72), who bo­geyed the last two holes.

Hen­der­son came into the week ranked 14th and in a com­fort zone. She has never fin­ished worse than 11th at Ko Olina.

At the half­way point, she was 10 un­der, bo­gey-free and two shots ahead. That stretched to five at the turn Fri­day, be­fore putting prob­lems brought the field back into it.

Hen­der­son led by just one head­ing into the fi­nal day.

She played the first 11 holes Satur­day in 2 un­der to carve out a three-shot ad­van­tage, then fal­tered again.

Her only bo­gey came on the 12th and she missed a short birdie putt at the next hole.

This time she re­cov­ered quickly, hit­ting driver-driver within 20 yards of the 14th green, then sink­ing a short birdie putt. She drained a 10-footer for another birdie one the 16th, where she four-putted Fri­day.

“Men­tally I was in a great spot this week,” Hen­der­son said.

“I missed a cou­ple putts, which you could ar­gue that men­tally I wasn’t there be­cause of a cou­ple miss hits, but I think to re­cover from that and kind of put it in the past and then go out and make some more birdies. And, be­ing the leader since early Thurs­day, that does add a lit­tle of pres­sure.”

Munoz and Ju­tanu­garn put to­gether the only se­ri­ous charges of the fi­nal round. Both came up a few holes short.

HARRY HOW GETTY IMAGES

Brooke Hen­der­son spoke to the me­dia af­ter her win about the sig­nif­i­cance to Cana­di­ans of the death of 16 people when a hockey team’s bus was hit.

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