Not yet 18, but Henderson bosses Portland field

Canadian teen golfer Brooke Henderson is not yet of legal age to consume alcohol but she has no qualms being showered with champagne after her commanding eight-stroke win at the Portland Classic.
Canadian teen golfer Brooke Henderson is not yet of legal age to consume alcohol but she has no qualms being showered with champagne after her commanding eight-stroke win at the Portland Classic.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PORTLAND • Canadian teenager Brooke Henderson 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, who only qualified for the tournament last Monday, continued her dream season, capturing her first title by a commanding eight strokes over Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum, Taiwan's Candie Kung and South Korea's Jang Ha Na.

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

Henderson started the final round with a five-shot lead, widened the gap to nine at the turn and cruised from there. "It is unbelievable. I am so excited," she said, after confirming her status as one of the game's rising stars.

She added that this experience will give her more confidence in the future. "My attitude today is a lot better than it was a couple of months ago," she said.

"I was just trying to keep going low and push it to get even further under par which I wouldn't have had a couple of months ago."

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

Henderson, who usually plays on a lower-level developmental tour, did not even have a caddie at the start of the week.

Her sister Brittany usually caddies for her but could not this time so Brooke enlisted the help of family friend Bunk Lee to carry her bag.

She becomes just the second player to win on the LPGA after going through qualifying last Monday, joining Laurel Kean, who won the 2000 State Farm Classic.

Henderson has one victory this year on LPGA's developmental Symetra Tour.

She finished in the top five in eight LPGA events, earning her way into those fields through qualifying and sponsor's exemptions.

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Not yet 18, but Henderson bosses Portland field'. Print Edition | Subscribe