LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Brooke Henderson is targeting a second Women’s PGA Championship crown on Thursday (June 20) just days after snagging the ninth title of her career to become Canada’s most successful female golfer.
The 21-year-old prodigy tees it up at Hazeltine National on Thursday after a superb win in Sunday’s LPGA Meijer Classic, where she finished with a 21-under-par total to win by one shot.
Ominously for her rivals, Henderson has a formidable track record in the Women’s PGA Championship posting four top six finishes in her four previous tournaments.
More significantly, Henderson arrives for this week’s tournament at Chaska, Minnesota on a hot streak after her win at the Meijer last weekend.
Henderson said victory had eased some of the pressure she felt to extend a proud record of having won at least two titles per season since 2016, as well as winning a Canadian record ninth tournament.
“Up until last week it was getting that ninth win and kind of keeping my record going of two wins a season,” Henderson said.
“I feel like some of the pressure is off maybe a little bit and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the summer, hopefully putting myself in contention a lot on the weekends and see if I can get the job done.”
Henderson meanwhile has been basking in the glow of her win at the Meijer Classic, which made her the first Canadian woman to win nine LPGA titles.
The adulation included a note of congratulation from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“It’s so special to have that support from back home and really support from all over the globe after winning that,” she said.
“People really reached out and been so kind and I’m just really happy to have that ninth win.”
The biggest threat to Henderson’s chances this week could come from in-form American Lexi Thompson.
She was one of four players who finished a shot back from Henderson last weekend, her highlight a scintillating 10-under-par 62 that took her into contention after the third round.
Thompson’s confidence has also benefited from a recent visit to the winner’s circle – she scored a dramatic win at the Shoprite Classic in New Jersey on June 9, eagling the 18th in the final round to win by one shot.
Though still only 24, Thompson is a veteran of the LPGA Tour having turned professional at 15.
She has yet to add to her sole Major win, which came at the 2014 ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, but says a new, more relaxed approach this season has allowed her to flourish.
“Golf is at least 80 percent mental and I mean it’s been tough for me to actually get in that mindset because I’ve known golf my whole life,” Thompson told reporters.
“Ever since I was five it’s the only thing I’ve done and I mean it’s just been in my blood. I’ve always known, all right, wake up early, let’s go practice and play. I love it. That’s why I love the game.
“It’s been a mindset that I’ve had to really learn and force myself to get into because it was kind of driving me insane and it’s just what I do and sometimes I have to tell myself that, it’s just a game.”
Thompson also believes she has benefited from scaling back her activity on social media accounts, which has given her more time to focus on her game.
“I still have Instagram, which I love, I post all my pictures and I have my puppy page, too,” she said.
“I’m just like not on it like I used to be, checking comments and everything like that. I just post and then let it go.”
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