At the top of the scoreboard throughout the tournament, Brooke Henderson came out the victor on Sunday at the Portland Classic, defending her LPGA title in the Pacific Northwest.
Henderson shot one-under-par on the final day, taking her to -14 for a four-stroke win over Stacy Lewis of the United States. Colombia’s Mariajo Uribe was the main challenger throughout day four, but faded late, finishing at eight-under with two double bogeys in the final holes.
Last year, Henderson (then 17-years-old) set a course record in Portland, turning in a 21-under-par scorecard and winning by eight strokes.
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At this year’s tournament Henderson got off to a sensational start, leading the field shooting seven-under 65 on the opening day.
Tour veteran Suzann Pettersen of Norway caught up to Henderson on Friday, and both went into the weekend as co-leaders at -11.
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Come Saturday, Henderson – despite a double bogey at the par three 13th due to a troubling tee shot – had regained sole possession of the leaderboard at -13.
The 13th hole gave Henderson trouble again on Sunday, a bogey frustrating her as she kept pairing partner Uribe in the rear. Both players then hit their respective approach shots on 17th into the gallery. Nonetheless, the Canadian regained her composure with consultation from sister and caddie Brittany Henderson, while the Colombian continued to struggle down the stretch.
Henderson’s latest win comes less than a month after she took the trophy at an LPGA major in Sammamish, Washington, some 300 kilometres north of Portland. That Women’s PGA Championship title marked Henderson’s first major victory, where she made history as the youngest winner of the tournament, and first triumphant Canadian since 1968.
The win in Portland this year was the 12th career top-10 finish and third tournament title for Henderson, 18, who is only in her first full season on the pro tour and has already climbed to number two in women’s world rankings, chasing New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.
Henderson has earned a qualification spot to represent Canada at the Olympic debut of women’s golf this summer at Rio 2016, along with friend and tour player Alena Sharp. Golf Canada will make its Olympic nominations official near the end of July. The Canadian has called a chance to play for her country at the Olympic Games an “opportunity of a lifetime.”