Golf: Canadian teen Henderson captures LPGA Portland Classic

Brooke Henderson of Canada tees off on the 8th hole during the final round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on Aug 16, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.
Brooke Henderson of Canada tees off on the 8th hole during the final round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club on Aug 16, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. PHOTO: AFP

PORTLAND (AFP) - Canadian Brooke Henderson confirmed her status as one of the game's rising stars when she blitzed the field on Sunday to run away with the Portland Classic title, becoming just the third player in history to win an LPGA Tour event before her 18th birthday.

The 17-year-old Henderson, who only qualified for the tournament on Monday, continued her dream season, capturing her first title by a commanding eight strokes over Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum, Taiwan's Candie Kung and Jang Ha Na of South Korea.

Henderson closed with a three-under 69 to finish at 21-under 267, breaking the tournament scoring record and joining world No. 2 Lydia Ko of New Zealand and American Lexi Thompson as the youngest players to win an LPGA tournament.

Pornanong fired a 68 to finish at 13-under 275 along with Jang and Kung, who both shot 70 Sunday at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club.

Spain's Azahara Munoz (69) was tied for fifth along with Americans Austin Ernst (68) and Mo Martin (69).

Henderson, who usually plays on a lower level developmental tour, didn't have a caddie at the start of the week. Her sister Brittany usually caddies for her but couldn't this time because she was also competing this week. So Brooke enlisted the help of family friend Bunk Lee to carry her bag.

The former hockey goaltender is the first Canadian to win an LPGA title since Lorie Kane in 2001. She also becomes just the second player to win on the LPGA after going through Monday qualifying, joining Laurel Kean, who won the 2000 State Farm Classic.

Henderson has one victory this year on the developmental Symetra Tour and finished in the top five in eight LPGA events, earning her way into fields through qualifying and sponsor's exemptions.

She would need a special waiver to join the LPGA before turning 18, which she will do next month.