Brooke Henderson goes wire-to-wire at LPGA season opener

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Brooke Henderson units a objective of profitable a number of LPGA Tour titles on the outset of every season. She did not wait lengthy to gather her first trophy of 2023.

Henderson was dominant all through and delivered a 2-under 70 on Sunday at Lake Nona to finish a wire-to-wire victory within the season-opening Hilton Grand Holidays Match of Champions.

In windy and typically troublesome situations, the 25-year-old Canadian performed steadily, ensuring to not give a lot hope to a gaggle behind her attempting to mount any kind of problem. She started her day main by three and finally received by 4, ending the occasion at 16-under 272. It was her thirteenth LPGA victory.

“It’s so thrilling,” Henderson stated. “I all the time attempt to win a pair occasions every year, so to get one proper approach out of the gate takes somewhat little bit of stress off. … It’s thrilling to be in rivalry, and much more thrilling to hoist trophies.”

Henderson has had her eye on a Match of Champions title for some time. She hadn’t completed exterior of ninth within the occasion the previous 4 seasons, and she or he was a runner-up to Danielle Kang a 12 months in the past. Sunday marked her sixteenth consecutive spherical underneath par on the LPGA courting to 2022, and her sixteenth consecutive rating underneath par on this match.

Successful additionally helps her put to relaxation a irritating finish to 2022. She withdrew with a again harm in her second-to-last begin on the Pelican Girls’s Championship in November, and managed the ache sufficient to tie for seventh within the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

From there, it was relaxation and rehab earlier than switching into new golf equipment. There have been 14 new golf equipment within the bag at Lake Nona, together with the putter, which helped to provide 19 birdies on a really robust check of golf.

Henderson entered the week at No. 7 within the girls’s world rating. She was requested if her season-opening triumph may open the door to different large objectives, similar to being No. 1, or being the LPGA’s participant of the 12 months.

“That will be superior,” Henderson stated. “Clearly, I had the dream begin.”

Second-year LPGA professional Maja Stark of Sweden confirmed a pleasant ending kick by taking pictures 5-under 31 on her last 9. She tied for second alongside England’s Charlie Hull. Each shot 69, Hull doing so for the fourth consecutive day.

Stark has dedicated herself to including a number of hours every week to her time spent training placing, and it confirmed in her scorching play over the ultimate 9 holes. Three over by way of seven, she birdied six of her last 10 holes.

“It provides me a whole lot of confidence,” Stark stated. “I really feel I’ve had a great week with my driver and a few good irons. The placing, too. I really feel like if it retains going like this, might be one of the best 12 months but.”

Hull was happy together with her end given the challenges of attempting to get her recreation prepared in England in mid-winter. She spent three days training in Morocco earlier than persevering with on to Orlando.

Henderson was affected person on Sunday, doing most of her harm on Lake Nona’s par 5s, making birdies on three of them. When she birdied the ninth gap, she had a four-shot lead over Nelly Korda, and she or he rebuilt the result in 4 as soon as once more with one final birdie on the par-5 fifteenth.

Korda, at No. 2 the highest-ranked participant on this winners-only discipline as a result of No. 1 Lydia Ko skipped the match after getting married, made solely three birdies and settled for fourth for a second consecutive 12 months. For Korda, the week was a story of two nines; she performed the entrance 9 in 1 underneath par for the week, and the second 9 in 10 underneath. Henderson was 10 underneath on the entrance 9.

“Yeah, the entrance 9 and I didn’t actually get alongside too nicely,” stated Korda, who shot 72 on Sunday. “Hopefully subsequent 12 months we’ll grow to be higher pals.”

Korda stated she was dissatisfied with the result, however having performed her first match with new gear, no less than she had a recreation plan going ahead.

“What’s good is that I’ve lots to work and I’m very enthusiastic about it,” she stated. “I’ve 4 weeks (off from the tour) to sort of grind and see the place my recreation is.”

Tennis participant and former Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish ran away with the celeb division, making 152 factors within the Modified Stableford format. Fish additionally received the title two years in the past. Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder (136 factors) was runner-up.

Annika Sorenstam, a 72-time winner on the LPGA and Lake Nona resident who performed among the many celebrities and athletes, tied for third with army veteran Chad Pfeifer.


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