CP Women’s Open in Ottawa: Brooke Henderson Eyes Another National Title
When Tiger Woods was in his prime, he was the player every fan wanted to see at just about every PGA Tour stop. And dealing with the pressure and expectation from gigantic crowds watching his every move makes his career achievements all the more impressive.
Brooke Henderson isn’t dominating peers the way Tiger once did, but she’s definitely the one player LPGA fans are focused on this week. Naturally, every Canadian sports fan will be rooting for Brooke in the CP Women’s Open, our national golf championship. That’s how it always is at this event. She’s been the great Canadian hope for several years.
But when the event is played in Ottawa (August 22-28 at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club), that’s truly when the Tiger effect kicks in. Henderson is the hometown hero, a rock star, and almost every local golf fan bought their tickets exclusively to watch her play. Every member of the media is clamouring for some time with Henderson. Fans and sponsors are looking for photos with her.
It’s understandable, of course. This isn’t just a nice homecoming story. Henderson is, once again, a true contender this week. She’s already won two tournaments this year, including her second career major. She’s second in the LPGA points race and third on the tour money list with $2.2 million.
Henderson is already the winningest professional golfer in Canadian history and no one is currently chasing her either. Sandra Post has long retired, Mike Weir is now a senior player and George Knudson passed in 1989. That trio is tied for second with 8 wins apiece. At age 24, with her whole life ahead of her, Henderson already has 12 career LPGA titles.
Henderson’s season went a little sideways in April of this year. She withdrew from the LOTTE Championship due to illness and then missed two straight cuts after that. Around that time, Henderson then changed her putting grip, switching to a left-hand-low putting style in June. In the six events since her April slump, the results speak for themselves. She’s finished in the top 16 every time, including four top tens and two victories.
“(The new grip) just gave me a lot more confidence,” Henderson told the Golf Channel. “I think that’s the main thing with putting. It’s just confidence and feeling good over the putts. I feel like it’s fixed a few things, a few flaws in my stroke that I had, which is good.”
The Hunt Club, as it’s commonly called, is about an hour away from the Smiths Falls Golf and Country Club where Brooke learned the game as a junior member. She’s now an honourary member at the Hunt Club, which is hosting the event for the fourth time in its history (1994, 2008, 2017). Henderson had high hopes the last time the event was played at this track in 2017 but had to settle for a 12th place finish. A year later in Regina, she won it, becoming the first Canadian to win our national championship in 45 years.
Now she has high hopes of winning for a second time in front of the fans who love her most.
“The 2018 CP Women’s Open win is probably the most special to me,” said Henderson at media day earlier this summer. “I’m just so excited to be back home here and be able to show our friends on Tour just what Ottawa’s all about again. It was so special back in 2017 being able to host this Championship here and show off the city and show off this amazing golf course.
“I’m so looking forward to coming back here and having the opportunity to compete,” Henderson said. “And hopefully, hoisting the (CP Women’s trophy) once more.”