Date: February 14, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Henderson smiles and rolls with her fame

Brooke Henderson says she is happy to soak up the adulation and attention that comes from being a top-10 world golfer.

The Canadian world. No. 8 is one of the favorites for the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open starting at Royal Adelaide Golf Club on Thursday, after a great 2016 in which she won her first major, the Women's PGA Championship, and at one point reached No. 2 in the rankings.

"I think the expectations have definitely grown but my expectations have too,'' said Henderson, who was top-10 at The Grange in last year's Open.

"Last year was an awesome year and it'll definitely be hard to repeat, but I'm going to try to repeat it, and hopefully do a little bit better. Last year, every week I was going into it (with) goal No. 1 to make cuts, goal No. 2 to be in the top 10, and if I had a chance to win, go after the win.

"This year I'm going to approach it a bit differently, go after some more wins on tour and then if I don't win then top 10 and of course making sure I make cuts, I'm going to be more aggressive and hopefully add a few more tales to my name.''

Like most of the top players, Henderson has the No. 1 ranking, currently held by New Zealander Lydia Ko, on her radar.  "I think everybody on the LPGA Tour, their goal is to be No. 1 but it's very difficult to do. Lydia Ko has done an amazing job, her career is incredible. Being in the No. 2 position last year was really exciting, and watching it slip away was heartbreaking so hopefully I'll get off to a little bit faster start this year and see my world ranking climb. Hopefully by the end of this year be in the top five and if I get a chance to do better than that I'll take that.''

The Canadian played a huge amount of golf last year but in 2017 will be more conservative, saying today that she would "go to the places I want to go''. Fortunately for Adelaide, Australia is a firm favorite of hers and while the links-style golf that Royal Adelaide offers up is not necessarily her thing, she takes it as a challenge.

"It's a great course, it's in incredible condition,'' she said. "It's going to be interesting, it's a tough course, you've got to know where you're hitting it, I think. Placement and having a good caddie with good yardages is going to be really important but hopefully the wind stays down a bit like today, and I think the scores will be good. Hopefully we get off to a good start on Thursday.''

One of the quirks of Royal Adelaide is the Grange line train that bisects the course, running on the half-hour beside the clubhouse and adjacent to the first tee and the practice putting green. Fortunately for the players, the train service is being shut down from tomorrow for the duration of the tournament, but during the practice rounds, players have had to watch their step.

"I was surprised for sure!" she said. "It's something different and it's pretty cool. I'll just have to be a little bit more careful when I cross the tracks. It's a cool feel here, a little bit different to what I'm used to.''