Canadian young gun Brooke Henderson tamed some stiff winds in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sunday to shoot a closing 3-under 66 that saw her break clear of a crowded leading pack and power on to a two-stroke victory at the Meijer LPGA Classic
“I played really steady golf, " said Henderson whose 66 at the Blythfield Country Club, which played to a par of 69 over the weekend due to flooding on the third hole, gave her a winning total of 15-under 263 and saw her beat Americans Michelle Wie (65) and Lexi Thompson (69) and by two shots.
Luckness Thompson, who, a month or so back, saw the US Women's Open torn from her grasp by a four-shot penalty a day after a viewer reported that TV's slow motion cameras had shown that she did not replace her ball in exactly the same spot from where she had lifted it and who now, for a second successive week, had failed to win after taking the lead into the final round.
"It was so cool to be able to make those putts under pressure,” Henderson told Golf Channel after sinking the winning three-foot par putt at the last.
Eight players were log-jammed in the lead at one stage in Sunday's final round, but Henderson finally managed to break clear with three timely birdies in five holes around the turn.
“I was surprised when I looked at the leaderboard and found myself with a two-shot lead on the 18th green, but wow, I’m super happy now,” Henderson said.
The up and coming Candian is the 15th different winner on the LPGA Tour in the 15 LPGA tournaments played so far this year. It is the longest streak without a repeat champion since 1991.
Henderson, now 19, burst onto the LPGA spotlight when she won the Portland Classic by eight strokes in 2015.
That made her the third player to triumph before turning 18 after Thompson and Lydia Ko.
She added two more victories last year, including her first major, the Women’s PGA Championship.
Sunday also underlined the growing improvement in form of child prodigy Wie, whose runner-up finish on Sunday followed a tie for third in the preceding week.
The 27-year-old Hawaiian has four career victories, including the 2014 US Women’s Open.
LEADING FINAL-ROUND SCORES
263 Brooke M. Henderson (CAN) 63-67-67-66
265 Michelle Wie 68-68-64-65, Lexi Thompson 64-68-64-69
266 Oh Su-Hyun (AUS) 67-70-65-64, Madelene Sagstrom (SWE) 65-70-66-65, Moriya Jutanugarn (THA) 67-66-67-66
267 Danielle Kang 71-68-63-65, Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 68-64-68-67, Kim Hyo-Joo (KOR) 69-65-65-68
268 Jacqui Concolino 71-66-65-66, Hur Mi-Jung (KOR) 66-66-69-67, Lydia Ko (NZL) 65-71-64-68
269 Jane Park 66-71-65-67, Lee-Anne Pace (RSA) 68-68-61-72, Park Sung-Hyun (KOR) 67-68-62-72, Jenny Shin (KOR) 67-67-63-72.
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