Brooke Henderson finished second at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions and there was a lot to like about her game over the four days of the LPGA Tour’s season-opener.
Playing in cool, blustery conditions at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., Henderson finished three shots behind Danielle Kang. She went bogey-free over her final 36 holes, relying on some good wedge play to get up and down on several holes.
“I came into this week thinking I had put in some solid work in the off-season,” said the 24-year-old, “so, nice to see that it's paying off.”
Of particular note was her putting, which has generally been the most inconsistent part of her game. She averaged 29 putts per round, including just 27 on Saturday.
“Hopefully I can use momentum over the next couple weeks and get a couple more top finishes,” she said.
Henderson was still using her 48-inch driver, on which she grips well down. The LPGA Tour will adopt the local rule limiting the length of clubs to 46 inches on March 21, forcing her to do something she’s never done in competition: grip the club at the end of the shaft.
This was her first event playing with a new ball, moving to the TaylorMade TP5x.
“Driver is still work in progress,” said Henderson, “but the ball was a really quick switch, which is really exciting.”
Henderson earned $177,229 for her efforts.
A final-round, two-under 70 allowed Roger Sloan to finish in a tie for 14th spot at the American Express. He was nine shots back of winner Hudson Swafford and the top Canadian of the five who survived the 54-hole cut.
Sloan started the final round with birdies on four of his first five holes. The end of his day wasn’t quite as strong with a double-bogey on the 17th hole after his tee shot found the rocks on the par-3 17th.
Sloan had a great putting week, picking up 4.395 strokes on the field and finishing fourth in Strokes Gained: Putting.
Sloan’s take for the week was $119,700 and he moved to 100th from 138th on the FedEx Cup standings
Adam Hadwin – T25
Nick Taylor – T33
Adam Svensson - T49
Michael Gligic – T55
PGA Tour Champions
Stephen Ames finished a shot out of a playoff at the PGA Tour Champions version of the tournament of champions in Hualalai, Hawaii.
Ames birdied his 18th hole to end up at 16 under, one stroke behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who defeated Stephen Alker in a playoff.
The Canadian was tied for the lead heading into the final round along with Vijay Singh and Ernie Els. He posted a final-round 68. He collected $125,000 for his efforts.
Mike Weir began his season with a tie for 19th spot at seven under. He earned $27,750.
This week’s events:
PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open
Canadians in the field: Corey Conners, Michael Gligic, Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Taylor Pendrith, Adam Svensson, Nick Taylor.
Note: Wednesday to Saturday schedule
LPGA Tour: Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio
Canadians in the field: Brooke Henderson, Maude-Aimee Leblanc
Korn Ferry Tour: Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at the Abaco Club
Canadians in the fields: Stuart Macdonald, David Hearn
Note: Sunday to Wednesday schedule