Lydia Ko is less than five months older than Brooke Henderson, but Henderson says Ko changed what she believed was possible growing up as a youth phenom.
After breaking through to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Sunday at 18 years, 9 months and 2 days old, Henderson said in a media conference call Monday that Ko motivated her to ramp up her expectations.
Henderson was 14 when she played her first LPGA event at the Canadian Women’s Open.
“I was pretty proud of myself,” Henderson said. “And she won it at 15, so she kind of put things in perspective, and opened my eyes that many things are possible, just to believe and push yourself to be better.”
Henderson beat Ko in a playoff Sunday at Sahalee Country Club to become the second youngest winner of a major. Ko was 18 years, 4 months and 20 days old when she won the Evian Championship last year.
Ko remains No. 1 in the newest Rolex Women’s World Rankings with Henderson moving up two spots to No. 2.
After winning Sunday and meeting with media, KPMG and PGA officials, Henderson said she didn’t have much time to celebrate. She jumped in a car with her agent, Gabe Codding, and her sister/caddie, Brittany, and drove three hours to Portland, where she took part Monday in the Cambia Portland Classic’s media day. She won that event as her first LPGA title as a 17-year-old last year.
Henderson won’t be taking a break this week to revel in her triumph. She’s scheduled to play the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich. In fact, she’s scheduled to play all six LPGA tournaments leading up to the Olympics.
“It’s a very busy schedule,” Henderson said. “I’m kind of just going by feel right now. I know if I need to take a break, I can do that. The plan right now is to play as many events as I can and hopefully get a couple more wins.”
Henderson also wants to keep piling up points to challenge Ko for the world No. 1 ranking.
“This is huge momentum for sure, definitely a huge confidence boost,” Henderson said. “To get that world ranking to No. 2 is kind of surreal, but I still have one more spot to go. I’m looking forward to the summer.”