For Brooke Henderson, the world moves quickly. At 18, she is ranked 11th in the world, already an LPGA Tour winner and she is still taking it all in.
The Canadian teenager comes into the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open as the third-highest ranked player in the field behind world No. 1 Lydia Ko and South Korea's Ha Na Jang.
"It's been an amazing year, considering back a year ago I didn't have a tour to play on, I didn't know which events I would play in,'' she said today. "I was just counting on Monday qualifiers and sponsors invitations to get into events, and I was able to play well and a lot of doors opened to me and I was able to win in Portland a couple of months ago and get full LPGA Tour status. I'm really just living the dream now, travelling around the world, first time to Australia is really exciting.''
Henderson's win on the LPGA Tour in Portland last August came after she Monday-qualified, but it was emphatic. She won by eight shots, and soon petitioned the LPGA Tour for an exemption so that she could have a playing card although she had not reached the minimum age of 18. This was granted, and now she is a full member.
A former world No. 1 amateur, she says her improvement has been steady. "I think over the last three or four years I've continued to improve just a little bit every year and that's been key,'' she said today after the Open pro-am. "Last year the main thing was realising that I was good enough to compete on the LPGA Tour. Getting top 10 finishes was (a boost in) confidence for me. Over the last couple of months and in the off-season I've gained a bit of distance which has really helped. I was considered a longer hitter to begin with and gaining 10-15 yards has really helped. Moving forward I think short game is what I need to improve to compete on the LPGA.''
Henderson likes the look of The Grange. "It's in amazing condition, they've really done a great job with it. It's a little bit tricky, second shots are key here, just playing smarter on the course and knowing where to hit the ball is going to be very important.''