ORLANDO (Fla.) – Brooke Henderson set a goal to win multiple LPGA Tour titles each season. She received her first trophy in 2023 not long after she set out.
Henderson was dominant all the way and finished with a 2-under 70 Sunday at Lake Nona to claim a wire-towire victory in this seasons opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
The 25-year old Canadian woman played in windy and sometimes difficult conditions. She made sure to not give up on the group behind her who were trying to face any challenge. She started her day leading by three and ended up winning by four. It was her 13th LPGA win.
Henderson said, Its so exciting. I always try and win a couple of times each year, so it takes a little pressure off to get one right. … Its thrilling to be in contention and even more exciting, to lift trophies.
Since a while Henderson had her sights set on the Tournament of Champions title. She had not finished above ninth in the event in four seasons. In fact, she was runner up to Danielle Kang last year. Sunday was her 16th consecutive round of the LPGA under par dating back to 2022, and her 16th consecutive score below par in this tournament.
Her win also helps to put to rest a disappointing 2022. She pulled out of the Pelican Women’s Championship in November with a back injury, but she managed to tie for seventh at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Then it was rehab and rest before switching to new club. At Lake Nona, she had 14 new clubs, including the putter. This helped her to make 19 birdies in a very tough test of golf.
Henderson was the Weeks No. 7 in the women’s world ranking. When she was asked if her season opening win might open the doors to other big goals such as being No. 1. Or being named the LPGAs Player Of The Year.
Henderson said, That would be amazing. Obviously, I had the dream beginning.
Maja Stark, a second year LPGA pro from Sweden shot 5-under 31 on her last nine. She tied for second with Charlie Hull, England. Both shot 69. Hull was doing it for the fourth day in succession.
Stark has made a commitment to spend more time practicing putting each week. It showed in her blistering play over the last nine holes. She birdied six holes in her final ten holes, three over through seven.
Stark stated, It gives my confidence a lot. I feel like Ive had an enjoyable week with my driver, and some good irons. I also enjoyed the putting. If it keeps going this way, I believe it could be the greatest year yet.
Hull was happy with her performance, considering the difficulties of trying to get her game ready for England in midwinter. She spent three days in Morocco practicing before moving on to Orlando.
Henderson was patient Sunday. She did most damage on Lake Nona’s par 5s and made birdies on three. After birdieing the ninth hole, Henderson had a 4-shot advantage over Nelly Korda. She then retook the lead with a par-5 15th.
Korda, at No. No. 2 is the highest-ranked player of this winners-only field. 1 Lydia Ko was married and skipped the tournament. She made only three birdies and settled fourth for the second year in a row. Kordas week was a tale involving two nines. She played the first nine in 1 under par, and the second nine with 10 under. Henderson was 10 under on Hendersons front nine.
Korda shot 72 on Sunday. Hopefully next season well become closer friends.
Korda admitted that she was disappointed with the result, but she did have a game plan and played her first tournament with new equipment.
Its good that I have lots to do and Im excited about it, she stated. I have four weeks. [off from the tour]To do a little bit of grinding and see where my game is.
Mardy Fisch, a tennis player and ex-Davis Cup captain, won with the celebrity division. He scored 152 points using the Modified Stableford format. Fish won the title also two years ago. Mark Mulder, a former MLB pitcher, was the runner-up.
Annika Sorenstam is a 72-time LPGA Tour winner and Lake Nona resident who has played among celebrities, athletes and military veterans. She tied for third place with Chad Pfeifer.