HomeSportsIt's a family affair for two-time Grand Slam champion Brooke Henderson.

It’s a family affair for two-time Grand Slam champion Brooke Henderson.


After rolling her birdie putt to clinch the Evian Championship, the Canadian picked up her ball before hugging her caddy, her sister Brittany, to see that she had indeed just scored her second big win.

“Did we really do this?” she asked.

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

In 11 of those 12 wins, Brittany, seven years her senior, was on the bag offering guidance. Far from a sibling rivalry, Henderson and his sister have long been a perfect team.

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

“Traveling the world and experiencing incredible places like this makes it more special to be able to do it with her.

“She really keeps me in line and has her experience, knowledge and guidance all the time… I’m really grateful.”

council of brothers

That advice proved vital as Henderson made it through the homestretch to a dramatic one-shot victory in √Čvian-les-Bains, France.

On a decisive day in which only two shots would separate the champion from the five players tied for third, the Canadian started badly with two bogeys and a double bogey on the 11th hole to see her initial two-shot lead vanish.

And as Sophia Schubert exhausted back-to-back birdies to advance on the 12th, Henderson faced the challenging prospect of staying positive as a major championship seemed in danger of slipping away.

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

“Brit was really key, reminding me ‘we’re still at it, just relax and hit good shots. Try to hit fairways, try to hit greens. Just keep it simple.'”

The council hit home, as Henderson fired two birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to reach the 18th tied for the lead with Schubert. And as the American’s putt rolled agonizingly around the cup, Henderson knew a successful conversion of her own eight-foot birdie chance would crown her a two-time Grand Slam winner.

Henderson plays his second shot on the 18th hole.

With that pressure and the eyes of a huge crowd on her, the Canadian admitted to having some nerves standing on the ball. However, once again her sister was available to help.

“We’ve done a lot of work reading greens and feeling more confident and trying to clear our minds a little bit,” Henderson explained. “Those steps have really made a big difference.

“Brit and I agreed on the reading, which also gives you a little more confidence when you’re both seeing the same thing.

“On that putt I really didn’t want to go to a playoff, I didn’t want to play that hole again, so I said ‘please come in.'”

Homecoming

And so it was, sealing another big win and a second Tour victory in a matter of months after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.

After taking a brief break from the game, not playing LPGA events in May, Henderson finished 16th in any of the five events he has played since then. Ranked No. 12 in the world during her time away, she heads into the season finale ranked No. 6 in the world and totally reinvigorated.

Once again, it was family that proved pivotal, and Henderson credited her sister, mother and father, who train her, with helping her get back on her feet.

“Being able to spend time with my family and just connect with where I grew up and relax for a couple of weeks was really key,” he said.

“Sometimes you just need to gain perspective again 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 pretty quickly and also some top-notch results. I really needed that.”

Henderson kisses the winner's trophy.

With the Women’s British Open approaching in August, her form puts the prospect of a third Grand Slam 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 gets the chance to play as a 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 victory in Saskatchewan in 2018.

“I’m going to have so many family and friends there and also all over the Ottawa area, and so many Canadians rooting for them and watching, so it’s going to be phenomenal.

“Winning that championship in 2018 was a huge moment, so I’d love to be able to do it again, especially so close to home.”



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