Brooke Henderson was reminded all week of what was at stake at the CP Women’s Open.
She knew about the 45-year Canadian victory drought at the tournament, the pressure of playing on home soil, the list of the LPGA Tour’s finest players who were nipping at her heels.
Henderson wasn’t fazed by any of it. She was aggressive from the start of Sunday’s final round and played like someone on the chase instead of in the lead.
It was a plan that worked to perfection at the Wascana Country Club as Henderson rolled to a four-shot victory over American Angel Yin.
“This was like the first time ever that I’ve played my absolute best in front of the hometown crowd and on home soil,” Henderson said. “It’s just a great learning experience, and it has a really happy ending.”
A run of four straight birdies on the back nine set up a nice cushion for Henderson, who could enjoy the walk up No. 18 as the crowd roared her arrival.
After a monster drive, her 69-yard approach shot landed on the green and rolled right up near the hole. She finished her 7-under-par 65 in style by hitting hit the three-foot birdie putt to send the packed gallery into a tizzy.
“I said to Brooke yesterday, I said ‘Show me those goalie eyes,”‘ said Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Lorie Kane. “I think as Canadians we know what that means. She stood up to the challenge and here we are.”
Henderson raised her arms in the air in victory and hugged her sister Brittany, who was on her bag all week. Their ecstatic father, Dave, ran on to the green and doused them in champagne.
The crowd started belting O Canada as Henderson was mobbed by friends, family and other players.
“Ten minutes from when I hit my second shot in on 18 to when I made that putt and when the celebrations all happened, those are the things that I’ll remember forever,” Henderson said.
Henderson shot 66 on the first two days and had a 70 on Saturday, finishing with an overall total of 21-under 267. Yin had a 68 and American Jennifer Song (67) was six shots off the lead at 15 under.
Australians Minjee Lee (68) and Su Oh (69) were seven strokes off the pace in a fourth-place tie with South Korea’s Amy Yang (68) and American Austin Ernst (69).
Henderson earned $337,500 US of the $2.25-million purse for her second victory of the season. It was her seventh career LPGA Tour win, moving her one behind Sandra Post’s record for all-time victories by a Canadian.
“I definitely feel like it was meant to be this week,” Henderson said. “Everything just kind of seemed to fall my way.”
Jocelyne Bourassa was the last Canadian to win this tournament, taking the 1973 event — then called La Canadienne — at Montreal.