Brooke Henderson was hoping to just make the cut at the U.S. Women's Open. Instead, the 16-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont., left Pinehurst No. 2 as the low amateur in one of the biggest tournaments in women's golf.
“There's a lot of great amateurs that qualified here this week at the U.S. Open,” said Henderson after finishing up with a 69 in the final round. “I mean, tied 11 right now is where I stand and that's great. Coming in, I was trying to make the cut and then climb up the leaderboard, and I was able to do that. So I'm very happy.”
Henderson actually ended up tied for 10th, a significant finish as it gives her a spot in next year's tournament. After 13 holes, she was three under for her day and tied for fifth spot, but a double bogey on the 16th dropped her back. She finished up the tournament at five over par.
“My ball striking was really big for me today,” said Henderson. “I made two mistakes off the tee which cost me a double and a bogey, but other than that, I was hitting it really well and had a couple tap-in birdies, which is really nice.”
Henderson said she found the course extremely tough in the early going, and was almost intimidated by it. But she found her stride as the week went on and was especially good off the tee, hitting 48 of 56 fairways for the week.
The big prize for the week came as Henderson earned the medal as the low amateur, besting Minjee Lee of Australia, the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world. It also gave the Team Canada member a wealth of confidence in where she wants to be.
“The best players in the world are here and to know that I'm right up there, it's really awesome,” she stated. “I still have a long way to go to where I want to be in the next couple years, but it's really exciting to know that I have the potential and it was a great finish here this week.”
Henderson has a busy summer ahead of her. She'll play in the Canadian Amateur July 22-25, the U.S. Women's Amateur Aug. 4-10, and the CP Canadian Women's Open Aug. 18-24. She will also play for Canada at the World Team Amateur Golf Championships in early September.