Should Brooke Henderson be successful in defending her title this week at the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich., she would become the first player in 14 tour events this year to win more than once.
It would also put Henderson, who won the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open in April, back into a habit she got into during her first four full seasons on tour in which she won twice each year, before going winless in a COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Henderson first earned her tour membership when she won the 2015 Cambia Portland Classic and successfully defended that title the following year. Her career also includes wins at the 2018 and 2019 Lotte Championship.
She also won the Meijer LPGA Classic two of the last three times it was played before being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
While multiple win seasons and successful title defences are nothing new to her, Henderson realizes she’s in tough this week at a venue that has been so kind to her.
“There is just so much talent out here and every week, it’s very difficult. To get a top finish, you have to work really hard to keep your place and you have to get some breaks along the way to win,” said Henderson, who remains focused on getting back to multiple wins this season.
“I was happy to be able to do it 2016 through 2019 and then, of course, last year, I only played 10 events and unfortunately, didn’t win any of them. Coming out this year, I was hoping to get that first win pretty quickly and I would love to get back on the streak of winning multiple times a season,” she said.
If she accomplishes that goal, Henderson will have to do it on a renovated Blythefield Country Club, which has added more distance and new bunkers, fairways and greens that have been restored to the way they were when the club first opened in the 1920s.
Blythefield may have named a “Brooke Henderson Lane” after her, but the road to defending in 2021 has some new obstacles.
“I definitely love it here, Blythefield Country Club, so many great members and I just feel at home when I come here. The weather, the trees. It reminds me of home up in Canada and just the friends that we’ve made here, it’s just a wonderful place to be and hopefully, I can make some more great memories this week,” said Henderson, noting the changes to the golf course.
“A few tee shots are definitely more challenging with where they placed the bunkers – 18, 9, and 2 sort of come to mind with the way the bunkers kind of jut in so it bottlenecks the fairway. I used to cut some corners and take sort of aggressive lines on those holes where I can’t really do that anymore,” she said.
“I think just having a solid strategy and leaning on what I’ve learned the last few years for the rest of the golf course will definitely be beneficial,” said Henderson, who has five top 10 finishes, including her win, so far this season, just one off the tour lead.
If Henderson is to get that second win this week, she will have to do it without her sister Brittany on the bag after her U.S. work visa expired on June 15. Brittany will be replaced this week by Everette Nini, who is familiar to Brooke.
“Definitely disappointed not to have Brit on my bag this week because we always make a great team and I love having her there. Unfortunately, her work permit is a little bit delayed due to COVID, so just waiting for that. Hopefully, it’s here sooner than later,” said Henderson, currently ranked fifth in the world.
“Everette is a good friend and he’s lots of fun to be around, so I think he will definitely make the change a little bit easier,” she said.
“Sometimes, it seems to be quite the challenge when things don’t really go your way, like losing your caddie, for one, but at the same time, it’s just life. Things are going to happen. Hopefully sooner or later Brit is back on the bag,” said Henderson, who will tee it up in the first two rounds with Nelly Korda and Lexi Tho