Did we really do it? she asked.
As well as ending the six-year wait for a major title after winning the 2016 KPMG PGA Women’s Championship, it also marked the 24-year-old’s 12th LPGA Tour victory, extending her lead as the most successful Canadian golfer in the world. story.
In 11 of those 12 victories, Brittany – seven years her senior – was on the bag, offering guidance. Far from being a sibling rivalry, Henderson and her sister have been a perfect team for a long time.
“I definitely couldn’t have made it without her,” Henderson, still soaked in champagne and water from the celebration, told reporters.
“Traveling the world and seeing amazing places like this makes it more special to be able to do it with her.
“She really keeps me in line and constantly uses her experience, knowledge and advice … I’m just very grateful.”
Brother and sister advice
This advice proved vital to Henderson, who made the last leg of the journey and scored a dramatic one-punch victory in Evian-les-Bains, France.
On the deciding day, when only two shots eventually separated the champion from five third-place finishers, the Canadian started poorly with two bogeys and a double bogey on the 11th hole to see her initial two-stroke lead dwindle.
And while Sophia Schubert was exhausting the birds in a row to take the lead in 12th, Henderson faced the daunting prospect of staying positive while a major championship could slip away.
“It was very difficult, sometimes easier said than done in those situations,” she said. “I put myself in a position I didn’t really want to be in.
“Brit was really key in reminding me that ‘we’re still in it, just relax and throw some good punches. Try to hit the fairway, try to hit the green Just keep it simple.”
The council hit the mark when Henderson fired two birdies into the 14th and 15th holes to finish in 18th, tied for the lead with Schubert. And as the American’s kick rolled agonizingly across the cup, Henderson knew that hitting her own eight-foot birdie chance would make her a two-time big winner.
Under such pressure and stares from the crowd, the Canadian admitted that she was nervous standing over the ball. Once again, her sister was there to help.
“We worked hard on green reading, became more confident about it, and tried to clear our minds a bit,” Henderson explained. “These steps really made a huge difference.
“Brit and I agree on the reading, which also gives you a little more confidence when you both see the same thing.
“About that hit, I just didn’t want to go into the playoffs, I didn’t want to play in that hole again, so I said, ‘Please come in.
And it did, sealing another major triumph and second tour win just a few months after winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June.
After taking a brief break from playing no LPGA tournament in May, Henderson has finished no lower than 16th in any of the five tournaments she has entered since. Ranked 12th in the world during her absence, she heads into the final stretch of the season as the world’s No. 6 and is completely rejuvenated.
Once again, family proved to be key: Henderson trusted her sister, mother, and father, who coached her, to help her reset.
“Being able to spend time with my family and just go back to where I grew up and relax for a couple of weeks was really key,” she said.
“Sometimes you just need to regain perspective and work on the right mindset to compete week after week at such a high level.
“Then I was able to come back and get two wins pretty quickly, as well as some better finishes. I really needed it.”
With the British Women’s Open approaching in August, her form has firmly placed the prospect of a third major tournament on the horizon, but Henderson is already eyeing another event later this month.
At the Women’s Canadian Open at the Ottawa Game and Golf Club, she has the chance to play the national hero on a course just over an hour from where she grew up.
“It’s going to be crazy,” said Henderson, who became the first Canadian in 45 years to win the 2018 Saskatchewan tournament.
“There will be so many family and friends and the whole Ottawa area and a lot of Canadians supporting and watching, so it’s going to be phenomenal.
“Winning that championship in 2018 was a huge deal so I would love to do it again, especially so close to home.”