GOLF

Brooke Henderson reveals how her caddying sister boosted her second major win

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Bringing home her birdie putt to clinch the Evian championship, the Canadian retrieved her ball before kissing her caddy, her sister Brittany, to check that she had just secured her second major victory.

“Did we really do that? she asked.

Along with ending a six-year wait for a major title following her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship win in 2016, it also marked the 24-year-old’s 12th victory on the LPGA Tour, extending her lead as the most successful Canadian female golfer in history.

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In 11 of those 12 wins, Brittany – seven years her senior – was on the sack to offer advice. Far from a sibling rivalry, Henderson and his sister have long been a perfect team.

“I definitely couldn’t do this without her,” Henderson told reporters, still soaked in champagne and water from the celebrations.

“To travel the world and see amazing places like this is even more special to be able to do it with her.

“She really keeps me in line there and has her expertise, knowledge and advice all the time…I’m so very grateful.”

Sibling tips

That advice proved vital for Henderson as he raced through the home stretch to claim a dramatic one-shot victory at Évian-les-Bains, France.

On a decisive day when only two strokes would ultimately separate the champion from the five players tied for third, the Canadian got off to a bad start with two bogeys and a double bogey on the 11th hole to see her initial two-stroke lead crumble.

And as Sophia Schubert drained back-to-back birdies to advance to 12th, Henderson faced the difficult prospect of staying positive as a major championship risked slipping away.

“It was very difficult, sometimes easier said than done in these situations,” she said. “I put myself in a position that I didn’t really want to be in.

“Brit was really key, reminding me that ‘we’re still in it, relax and hit some good shots. Try to hit the fairways, try to hit the greens. Keep it simple. “”

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The board hit home, as Henderson birdied twice on the 14th and 15th holes to come in on the 18th tied for the lead with Schubert. And when the American’s putt rolled agonizingly around the cut, Henderson knew a successful conversion of her own eight-foot birdie chance would crown her a two-time big winner.

Henderson plays his second shot on the 18th hole.

With that pressure and the eyes of a large crowd on her, the Canadian admitted to being nervous over the ball. Yet, once again, her sister was there to help her.

“We’ve been working a lot on green reading and being more confident and trying to clear our minds a bit,” Henderson explained. “These steps really made a huge difference.

“Brit and I were in agreement on the reading, which also gives you a bit more confidence when you’re both seeing the same thing.

“On that putt, I really didn’t want to go to the playoffs, I didn’t want to play that hole again, so I was like ‘please come in’.”

Back home

And off we go, sealing another major triumph and second Tour victory within months of winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.

After taking a short hiatus from playing, not playing any LPGA events in May, Henderson has not finished below 16th place in any of the five events she has appeared in since. Ranked 12th in the world during her absence, she enters the home stretch of the season as world No. 6 and fully reinvigorated.

Once again it was family that proved crucial, with Henderson crediting her sister, mother and father – who coaches her – with helping her reset.

“Being able to spend time with my family and just reconnect with where I grew up and relax for a few weeks was really essential,” she said.

“Sometimes you just have to take a step back and work on the right mindset to be here competing week after week and at such a high level.

“Then I was able to come back and get two wins quite quickly and also some top finishes. I really needed that.”

Henderson kisses the winner's trophy.

Heading into the Women’s British Open in August, her form places the prospect of a third major firmly on the horizon, but Henderson already has her eyes on another event later that month.

At the Canadian Women’s Open at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, she has the chance to play the national hero on a course just over an hour from where she grew up.

“It’s going to be crazy,” said Henderson, who became the first Canadian in 45 years to win the event with a victory in Saskatchewan in 2018.

“There’s going to be so much family and friends there and also the whole Ottawa area, and a lot of Canadians supporting and watching, so it’s going to be phenomenal.

“Winning this championship in 2018 was a highlight, so I would love to be able to do it again, especially so close to home.”

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