Weeks: 14-year-old Henderson tees it up at Women's Open

Bob Weeks
8/23/2012 11:02:52 AM
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COQUITLAM, B.C. -- She doesn't have a Facebook page and she doesn't Tweet. And rather than go to the mall with her friends, she'd rather be on the golf course, all day, every day.

Doesn't sound like your typical 14-year-old, but then, Brooke Henderson is anything but typical. While most of her friends are winding up their summer vacations, perhaps heading to the store to pick up some school supplies, Henderson is getting ready to tee it up in the CN Canadian Women's Open. When she hits her opening shot, she'll become the youngest player in the event's history.

Not since Sandra Post was tearing up the women's ranks, first as an amateur and then later as a teenaged pro where she won the LPGA Championship, has Canada had so much discussion about a young golfer.

Henderson deserves the conversation. She is nothing short of remarkable and her list of achievements in her brief career is stunning: she won the Ontario junior title for the second straight year, the Canadian Junior crown, played in the British Amateur, making it to the match play portion, and won an event on the CN Canadian Women's Tour, defeating a field of elite amateurs and seasoned professionals. It's that last victory that earned her a spot in this week's field.

Yes, it's been quite a year for Henderson, who will head to Grade 10 in a few weeks.

"I don't know," she said when asked what she'd be doing if she wasn't here. "I'm just thankful and blessed to be here and really looking forward to the week."

Team Canada head coach Tristan Mullally praised Henderson's work over the year and said that she's far beyond her years in her mental approach, something that's allowed her to excel at higher levels. She's not afraid to analyze her game and spot weak points, working to improve them.

Despite the young age, Henderson appears calm and relaxed this week, flashing a smile at every turn. She's well-spoken, polite and doesn't appear out of place among the top women golfers in the world - even if they happen to be her idol, Morgan Pressel.

"She introduced herself to me on the range [on Wednesday] and said I had a pretty good swing," Henderson gushed. "I definitely really liked that. Hopefully I'll get to play with her in the years to come."

Her story is getting around the locker room and the professionals are as impressed with the talent as anyone.

"How good was I when I was 14? Probably not good enough to be playing in the CN Canadian Women's Open," said Lorie Kane, obviously impressed with her fellow Canadian.

"To see someone like that coming through the ranks is pretty neat," added American star Paula Creamer, who was hoping to see Henderson play at some point. "It's inspiring to know that you can kind of help out too. You never know what will happen."

The fans at the Vancouver Golf Club have been taking notice too and that's meant something new for Henderson – autographs. She said while she's has been signing every program and pin flag handed her way, she will have to consider her penmanship in the days to come as her style at the moment is pretty basic.

"Just a proper name for now, " she said, "but I'll have to look into a cool one."

There is a lot to consider down the road for Henderson, who said her goal is to go to the University of Florida on a scholarship and then have a career on the LPGA Tour. But that's a ways off.

For this week, Henderson said she is focused on hitting the proper golf shots and not much more. There is a game plan in place for the teenager and it's about executing it. No one would be surprised if she made the cut here – after all, this is a woman who is all about surprises in golf.

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