RIDEAU VIEW GOLF CLUB - OTTAWA'S PREMIER PRIVATE GOLF EXPERIENCE.
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BURLINGTON, Ont. - The 18th hole at the Burlington Golf and Country Club, the Stanley Thompson gem on the shores of Lake Ontario, is an uncommon way to finish a round.
There are not many courses that finish with a par-3, but while it might sound easy - hit a tee ball and two-putt - the 188-yard hole over a valley to a well-protected green that slopes severely from back to front is no cakewalk to the clubhouse.
Brooke Henderson found that out in the first round of the Canadian Women's PGA Championship on Tuesday when she hit the green above the hole and four putted for a double bogey.
Good thing the 17-year-old from Smiths Falls managed to give herself a two-shot lead when she got to the tee on Tuesday. She made a bogey, but so did her closest pursuer, amateur and first-round leader Elizabeth Tong of Thornhill, Ont., and Henderson walked away with her second-straight Canadian Women's PGA Championship.
"I knew with a two-shot lead if I could bogey or par I could take the win," said Henderson. "Standing on 18 tee, I wanted to make sure I learned from yesterday and not hit it past the pin which I did a good job of. I finished a little short of the green. I knew it was an easier chip from down there than beyond it."
So Henderson's strong breakout summer continues. She previously won on the developmental Symetra Tour and has two top-five finishes in the last two majors.
Henderson finished at 8-under par for the 36-hole championship after a 3-under 67 on Tuesday to go with her opening 65. She started the day three shots behind Tong, who had a course record 62 in the first round.
Henderson erased that lead by the fifth hole. She birdied the par-5 third hole while Tong bogeyed and then Henderson birdied the fifth to pull even.
Tong took back the lead when she birdied the 13th hole and Henderson bogeyed after driving into a bunker and then hitting an overhanging tree limb with her second shot.
They fell into a tie again on the par-3 15th - along with Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., at 8-under - when Tong three-putted for a bogey. Henderson struck the decisive blow with a 58-yard wedge to about a foot on the par-4 16th for birdie.
That gave her a lead she wouldn't give up. Chen double bogeyed the tough 17th, Tong three-putted for another bogey and Henderson parred for the two-shot cushion walking up the hill to the 18th tee.
On the twisting road into the Burlington Golf and Country Club property, the names of the previous champions were on signs lining the road.
"It's pretty cool. Last year driving in, it was my first time playing this event and I saw Alena Sharp and Lorie Kane and Cathy Sherk, all the great names. I wanted my name to be up there, too, and I was able to do it last year and now I'll have two years on it," said Henderson.
"Winning is really cool. It's fun. As an amateur every week I was expected or had the potential to win. Just to have the feeling of being in contention again and know I could win was very important."
Henderson collected $10,000 for the win (she's already won about $500,000 this season on various other Tours, most of it for thos two T5s in the last two majors).
She'll continue her pursuit of an LPGA card next week at the Ricoh British Women's Open.
She's earned about $459,000 on the LPGA Tour this season. The LPGA won't grant her an age exemption (she would have to win an LPGA event to get that) but ruled if she can earn as much as 40th place on the money list, the LPGA said it will grant her a card for next season.
Last season, 40th place on the money list was about $448,000.
The Women's PGA Championship of Canada was the last event of the Canadian Women's Tour. Henderson was named the player of the year. Tong was named amateur of the year.
Also earning exemptions into the CP Canadian Women's Open next month in Vancouver were Michelle Piyapattra of Corona, Calif., Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Toronto, Lauren Mielbrecht of Gulf Stream, Fla., and Seul Ki Park of Northbrook, Ill.