Brooke Henderson had some fun as part of the LPGA’s focus on its youth movement in a commercial early last year, joking that she might be in the twilight of her teenage years but “age won’t slow me down.”
After turning 21 this week, she remains in the game’s fast lane.
Henderson raced onto the leaderboard with a quick start Thursday at the Evian Championship, putting up a 4-under-par 67 that got her into early contention to try to win her second major championship. She’s two shots behind Maria Torres and Carlota Ciganda.
“I’m very confident coming into this week,” Henderson said.
And well rested, with her batteries recharged.
Henderson arrived in France just three weeks removed from her victory at the CP Women’s Open, where she became the first Canadian in 45 years to win her country’s national title. It was a special breakthrough that she conceded left her drained in her next start at the Cambia Portland Classic, where she had won twice. She was running on fumes in Portland, but she feels strong again as she begins a season-ending run she hopes leads to some special tour awards and honors.
“I think at Portland you kind of saw the effects of the emotional high, kind of coming down, but I feel ready to go this week,” Henderson said. “I feel like I’m back in playing form. I feel like the energy is back, and I’m hitting the ball well.”
Full-field scores from Evian Championship
Evian Championship: Articles, photos and videos
With another victory, Henderson would set herself up for a run at becoming Rolex world No. 1 for the first time and for the Rolex Player of the Year Award.
With her third victory this season, Henderson would equal Ariya Jutanugarn and Sung Hyun Park for most LPGA titles this season, which could move her as high as No. 4 in the world rankings. It would also move her to second in the Player of the Year points race behind Jutanugarn.
Henderson won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship three seasons ago and already has four finishes of T-5 or better in majors. She seems to relish showing what she can do on the biggest stages.
“I look forward to them a little bit more knowing I can be in contention and have a chance to win if things go the right way,” she said.
Under blue skies and a warm sun Thursday, the Evian Resort Golf Club played firmer and faster than players are used to seeing in the September rains that typically fall there.
“Definitely very different from the last couple years that I’ve played here,” Henderson said. “It’s beautiful, which is really nice, but no wind. It’s very firm, comparatively. I think we had to adjust as the day went on.”
Henderson birdied four of her first seven holes. She hit 9 of 13 fairways and all but one green in regulation.
“I didn’t capitalize as much on my back nine as I would’ve liked to, but overall to shoot minus-4 on this course golf course, I’m really happy with it,” she said.