PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — With the final three holes on the course creeping into view, it seemed like Brooke Henderson could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Heading into hole 16 at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont in the final round of the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic, the Springs Falls, Canada, native had a two-stroke lead on the rest of the field.
Things seemed to be lining up like they had for Henderson throughout most of the tournament: smooth to the finish.
This time, it wasn’t.
A light drizzle started to fall as Henderson approached the tee box. Henderson wore a gray long-sleeved light jacket, which she tugged on while taking a deep breath. She aimed her black visor with white trip down as she starred at the ball she was about to strike. Like before every shot, time seemed to stand still for the 2017 Meijer Classic winner.
Her drive found the fairway and her approach shot landed on the fringe of the green. A two-putt would give her a par and keep her lead intact.
Instead, all she could do was grimace after her second putt missed the cup. With a bogie, her lead was suddenly just one stroke ahead of two players chasing her.
Henderson wasn’t aware of how close the score was heading to hole 17, but figured there would be a lot of people close to her.
“I made it really tight right there,” Henderson said. “I just tried to finish strong.”
After a par on hole 17, Henderson sensed she needed a birdie or eagle to win on 18. As she was preparing to tee off on the final hole, a roar from the crowd on the green echoed through the course from another opponent’s putt.
Henderson stepped away from the ball and took a deep breath. She dug her white cleats in and bent her knees. She pulled back and followed through with her driver.
The ball found the fairway. She then stuck the ball over 200 yards to put it on the green. All she had to do was three-putt and par for the title.
Her first putt landed short but left a makeable 10-foot putt. She missed it to the right of the cup.
Henderson’s smile was strained, not believing she still had to make one more putt to wrap up the 72 holes she battled over the last four days.
She lined up her putt, crouched down and hovered over the ball. She brought her hands back slowly and hit the ball toward the pin.
It went in. The crowd erupted, Henderson smiled and was greeted by a hug from her sister and caddie Brittany Henderson.
She had just made history.
With the victory, Henderson became Canada’s all-time leader in LPGA Tour titles with nine, two of which she won at Blythefield. The 21-year-old never trailed in the event.
“That’s really cool,” Henderson said. “Earlier this year, to get my eighth win and to tie that record was a huge deal for me. To now to kind of break through, that is awesome. I’m just really excited for the rest of the summer and hopefully many more wins in the future.”
It was also the third time Henderson has won an event on Father’s Day, two of them coming at the Meijer LPGA Classic. Dave Henderson, her father, was thrilled she managed to capture the moment again.
“As Brooke said, ‘a third Father’s Day gift for me’ because she has won three on Father’s Day,” Dave said. “Maybe they should promote Father’s Day a little bit more and have more (tournaments).”
Brooke Henderson said she was happy to not just do it for her father, but also for her family and fan base.
Blythefield is a course she always loves to come back to.
“It’s a lot like the courses I grew up playing back home in Canada,” she said. “I also think knowing that I have won here before gave me that little bit of confidence and momentum going into today,”
Whatever it was that helped Henderson earn the victory, she found a way to get the job done. While the weekend was a little bit closer than the first two days that she said came easier, she said she was just happy to be a champion of the Meijer Classic again.