If Brooke Henderson is successful in completing the first three-peat of her LPGA Tour career at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, she’ll need to make adjustments to the Kapolei Golf Club on Oahu.
At par 72, Kapolei is hosting the event, for the first time this year and is playing at 6,397 yards. It was yielding some low scores in Wednesday’s first round as leaders Brittany Altomare and Yuka Saso opened with eight under 64s. Henderson had just one bogey as she shot a 68 and is tied for 14th.
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When Henderson won in 2018 and 2019, it was at Ko Olina Golf Club, also on Oahu. The 2020 Lotte Championship was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That golf course really suited my game, and (sister/caddie Brittany) and I just felt very comfortable there. We never really had a poor finish. We were always in the top 10 or just outside,” said Henderson of Ko Olina.
“I was a little disappointed when we changed golf course this year. I really loved the other one, but this one is great as well, really pretty, and we’ve spent the last three days trying to learn it the best we can and just trying to get a strategy together and, hopefully, the game is in a good spot come (Wednesday) afternoon,” she said.
“This golf course at first glance looks similar to Ko Olina and you get out there and there are some slopes, elevated greens, which you don’t see at much as Ko Olina,” added Henderson.
“Just like any time you’re playing in Hawaii it’s very windy and you just have to play smart and, hopefully, hitting quality golf shots, but patience will definitely be a big key and I mentioned just having a strategic plan out there and Brit has been working really hard, so hopefully, we can get a good one together and make it happen,” she said.
When Henderson won the 2019 Lotte Championship, it was her eighth career win on the LPGA Tour, tying Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson for most tour victories by a Canadian. Henderson won the Meijer LPGA Championship in Grand Rapids, Mich., later that year to take the all-time lead.
If she is successful in attaining her 10th career win this week, she would be the first LPGA Tour player to win the same event three times since Inbee Park did it at a major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship/Wegmans LPGA Championship from 2013-2015.
“It’s definitely a rare opportunity, so it would be nice to make the most of it, but I’m just really excited for the chance. To be in this position is really cool. I was in it once before in Portland and came up short on the three-peat, but just to have the opportunity, like I said, is really amazing,” said Henderson, who won the Portland Cambia Classic in 2015 and 2016.
“You can only do one shot at a time, especially on a different golf course. There is a lot of learning to it, so I’m just being patient and trying to stick to the game plan,” she said.