Brooke Henderson said Wednesday that it’s not quite official yet, but she expects to add the CN Canadian Women’s Open as her fourth sponsor exemption this season.
Though she also said she has no issues with LPGA rules not allowing her to claim an exemption to play this week after finishing top 10 last week, she said she is battling fatigue meeting new challenges.
Henderson, trying to earn LPGA membership as a 17-year-old, played her way into this week’s North Texas Shootout. She did so winning a playoff in a Monday qualifier to grab one of two available spots in Irving, Texas. She flew halfway across the country to the qualifier after finishing third Sunday at the Swinging Skirts Classic just outside San Francisco.
Getting into the Texas event became a race against the clock with Henderson’s flight delayed to a 4 a.m. departure on Monday. She arrived at Las Colinas roughly four hours before her tee time with little sleep.
If Henderson were an LPGA member, her top-10 finish at Swinging Skirts would have assured her a spot at the North Texas Shootout. Unlike the PGA Tour, the LPGA doesn’t grant the same top-10 exemption to non-members.
Henderson was asked in a conference call Wednesday how she felt about not getting an exemption.
“A rule is a rule,” Henderson said. “I respect that.”
Henderson, however, said she’s feeling tired after the long journey to the rain-delayed and playoff-prolonged qualifier. She’s from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, and is dealing with intense media interest, especially from Canada. She did a conference call Wednesday to accommodate all the media requests. She said she also limited her practice Tuesday and Wednesday to rest.
“I feel much better now,” she said. “I think I’m ready to go.”
As an amateur last summer, Henderson petitioned the LPGA for a waiver of its rule requiring members to be 18. The waiver would have allowed her to gain membership through LPGA Q-School. Henderson turned pro in December anyway. She has been playing LPGA, Symetra Tour and mini-tour events this year. She is allowed six sponsor exemptions to LPGA events, not counting the U.S. Women’s Open and Ricoh Women’s British Open. She played the Swinging Skirts on her first sponsor exemption. She also has sponsor invites to the ShopRite Classic and Manulife Classic.
After her strong performance Sunday, Henderson was asked if she intended to petition the LPGA for a waiver again. She said she did not expect to do so unless she wins. She could claim LPGA membership for this year and next year if she wins a tour event, but she would have to be granted a waiver of the LPGA’s age restriction to do so. She turns 18 on Sept. 10.