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Henderson looking to defend major title at Evian Championship

Brooke Henderson Brooke Henderson - The Canadian Press

If your golf game has been somewhat lacklustre and the results not to your satisfaction, then Evian-les-Bains, France is not a bad place to come and recharge.

The resort town tucked into the Alps has stunning views and calmness about it, both reasons it attracts golfing vacationers looking for some relaxation.

Brooke Henderson is here for another reason; the fourth major of the season is played here and this year, she’ll be defending her title. She’s also hoping the venue and all its beauty will help her improve her play.

“This is an amazing event for a major championship,” said Henderson. “It's a beautiful golf course, and when you're feeling really stressed you can look out over the lake and it calms you down and relaxes you a little bit, which is pretty cool.”

Henderson comes into this tournament off a mediocre season. Yes, she won her first start of the year at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions but since then, she’s failed to record a top 10.

However, it’s not as if she’s forgotten how to swing a club. She is ranked 12th in the world and sits 17th in the Race to the CME Globe standings, the LPGA Tour’s season-long points list. Both are excellent marks with which most players in the world would be happy. It’s just that with Henderson, we’re used to seeing great results every time she tees it up.

Statistics show she’s hit fewer fairways and greens than in past years. It’s not a significant drop-off but enough to point to those as perhaps reasons why her game hasn’t been quite as sharp. She’s dropped to 78th from 31st in fairways hit and to 27th from fifth in greens in regulation. Her putter, the club that usually gives here the most trouble has been relatively steady all season.

Henderson, always one to see the glass half-full, believes improved results are coming.

The 25-year-old has been working hard to get her game back to her lofty standards, spending time with her father and coach Dave, as well as sister and caddie Brittany.

“I feel like my game is definitely trending in the right direction,” she stated. “I'm seeing better results and I feel like I'm hitting it a little bit better.”

A turn-around would be more than welcome and it couldn’t come at a better time. Henderson notched her second major title here last year, dropping a nervy, 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

A successful defence would not only right the ship on the season and put an end to all the “what’s-the-matter-with-Brooke” chatter, but also help her reach a mark she sets for herself annually.

“It's been a goal of mine since I've been on tour to win twice a year,” stated Henderson. “I've done it most years, but not all years. It was really great to start out off the year with a win the first tournament out.

“It's been up and down since, but looking forward to a lot of events coming up. Especially this week.”

As the defending champion, her face is plastered on posers all over the property and she is getting plenty of attention. She’ll hope to channel that and the beauty of the area into a good performance.

“I love this place,” stated the 13-time LPGA Tour champion. “After winning last year, it's just super exciting and I'm looking forward to teeing it up (Thursday).”

Henderson does have a daily ritual that she hopes might help her this week and that’s to visit a crepe restaurant in downtown Evian. She’s not saying if it’s a good luck charm, only that she’s fixated on the crepes.

Perhaps it will fuel her to another victory, one that would certainly end any discussion of this being an off-season for the Canadian star.