Brooke Henderson’s victory Sunday at the Four Winds Invitational won’t allow her to claim LPGA membership, but it was more proof the 17-year-old Canadian is ready to play the best tour in the women’s game.
Henderson closed with a 3-under-par 69 to win the Symetra Tour event in South Bend, Ind., by three shots. With a 10-under total over 54 holes, she claimed the $22,500 winner’s check in the LPGA developmental tour event. She’s the third youngest winner in Symetra Tour history.
“These are great players out here, and this win is huge for me,” said Henderson, who played on a sponsor exemption. “I have big goals and this is definitely a stepping stone towards them.”
Henderson is seeking to gain LPGA membership without going to Q-School in the fall. She tied for fifth at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last week, boosting her season-long earnings in LPGA events to $317,470 in seven starts. If she were a tour member, she would rank 21st on the LPGA money winnings list. If she finishes the year with winnings equal to or better than the player who finishes 40th on the money list, she will earn membership for 2016. A year ago, Hee Young Park finished 40th on the money list with $447,658 in earnings. Henderson also can gain LPGA membership by winning an LPGA event, provided she gains a waiver of the tour’s rule requiring members be at least 18 years old. She turns 18 on Sept. 10.
Henderson is scheduled to play the U.S. Women’s Open, July 9-12, and is hopeful she will get to play the Ricoh Women’s British Open, July 30-Aug. 2, on a special invitation that won’t count against the six LPGA sponsor exemptions she’s limited to playing as a non-member of the tour. She has one sponsor exemption left and plans to use that at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, Aug. 20-23.