Posted on January 23, 2023 in News.
Brooke Henderson wins the first tournament of the season
Henderson dominated the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions from start to finish and this Sunday in Lake Nona, winning the LPGA season opener. The world number 6 underlined that her new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and her new series had largely contributed to the result. Céline Boutier, the only Frenchwoman in the running, finished 26th
Brooke Henderson sets her sights on winning multiple LPGA Tour titles at the start of each season. She did not wait long to sign her first trophy in 2023.
In windy and sometimes difficult conditions, the 25-year-old Canadian played consistently, making sure not to give much hope to a group behind her trying to come back. She started her day leading by three strokes and eventually won by four strokes, finishing with a score of -16 (272) and winning with a final card of 70 (-2). This is his 13th victory on the LPGA Tour.
«It's so exciting ", said Henderson. “I always try to win once or twice a year, so winning one right off the bat takes a bit of the pressure off me. … It's exciting to be in the race, and even more exciting to hold trophies”.
Henderson has had his eye on the Tournament of Champions for some time. She's never finished outside of ninth place in the past four seasons, and she was a runner-up to Danielle Kang last year. On Sunday, she had her 16th consecutive round under par on the LPGA since 2022, and her 16th consecutive score under par in this tournament.
The victory also allows her to end a frustrating end to the season in 2022. She retired with a back injury during her penultimate start at the Pelican Women's Championship in November, and has dealt with the pain sufficiently to place seventh in the season-closing CME Group Tour Championship.
From there, she had to rest and rehabilitate before changing clubs. There were 14 new clubs in the bag at Lake Nona, including the putter, which helped produce 19 birdies on a very strong golf test.
Henderson has extended its partnership with TaylorMade, becoming the first athlete to upgrade from a partnership with TaylorMade golf balls to a full bag of TaylorMade clubs, incorporating bag and visor branding.
“With this new driver it's really good to be aggressive because he can take a lot of power if you have it. I feel like a lot of things worked really well, especially the wedges. It's really nice to be able to attack the flags, and they hold really well, which is new for me. There have been a lot of bonuses and a lot of benefits with the new change”.
Henderson entered the week in 7th place in the women's world rankings. She was asked if her season-opening triumph could open the door to other big goals, like being No. 1 or being the LPGA Player of the Year.
"That would be great ", and réponddu Henderson. “Obviously, I had a dream start”.
Swede Maja Stark, a professional player who is entering her second year on the LPGA Tour, showed a good boost by achieving a card of 31 on the last nine holes. She is second ex aequo with the English Charlie Hull. Both played 69, Hull for the fourth consecutive day.
LPGA Tour win #13 ✅ @BrookeHenderson starts 2023 off with a win at the #HGVLPGA! ???? pic.twitter.com/hgsg85QDCV
- LPGA (@LPGA) -
Stark has committed to spending several hours a week practicing putting, and it showed in her game on the final nine holes. After crossing the finish line three times, she made six birdies on her last ten holes.
«It gives me a lot of confidence.", said Stark. “I feel like I had a good week with my driver and some good irons. Putting too. I feel that if it continues like this, it could be my best year. »
Hull were happy with their result given the difficulties in preparing their game in England in mid-winter. She spent three days training in Morocco before continuing on to Orlando.
Henderson was patient on Sunday, doing most of her damage on the Lake Nona par-5s, birdying three of them. When she birdied on the ninth hole, she had a four-stroke lead over Nelly Korda, and she rebuilt that lead to four strokes with a final birdie at the par-15 5th.
😁🤳🏆#LPGAWinnerSelfie | @BrookeHenderson pic.twitter.com/paRerqUdxX
- LPGA (@LPGA) -
Korda, who was the highest-ranked player (No. 2) in this winners-only tournament, as No. 1 Lydia Ko did not participate in the tournament after her marriage, made only three birdies and was contented with fourth place for the second consecutive year. For Korda, the week has been a tale of two snows; she played the first nine holes at -1 under par for the week, and the second nine at -10 under par. Henderson played the first nine holes at -10 under par.
“Yes, the first nine holes and I did not get along very well”, said Repeat, who shot 72 on Sunday. “I hope next year we will become best friends”.
Korda said she was disappointed with the result, but having played her first tournament with new equipment, she at least had a game plan for the future.
"The good thing is that I have a lot to work on and I'm very excited about it", she said. “I have four weeks (of rest on the circuit) to grind a little and see where my game is”.
Tennis player and former Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish won the Celebrity Division, with 152 points in the modified Stableford format. Fish also won the title two years ago. Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder (136 points) finished second.
Annika Sorenstam, a 72-time LPGA winner and Lake Nona resident who has played among celebrities and athletes, tied for third with military veteran Chad Pfeifer.
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Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions January 19-22