Date: February 18, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Early start gives Brooke a breather


Brooke Henderson isn’t used to 4.50am alarms on Saturday mornings.

But such is life on the LPGA Tour when things don’t quite follow the early script with Henderson consigned to playing alone in the first “group” out for the first time in her life with her card marked by a walking Golf Australia official and not another player as is custom in many other global tournaments.

“It was actually fun,” the affable Canadian said after her even-par 73 left her square with the card after three rounds of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

“I was so shocked last night (when I saw the draw), but I played really fast – just over three hours.

“It took a little while to get the rhythm right because you’re normally waiting for other players and you have a little bit more time to process things, but at the end of the day it worked out really well and now I have the rest of the day to go experience Glenelg and Adelaide.”

So what does a world No.8 do when presented with a rare spare Saturday afternoon while still well and truly in the tournament.

“I think we (sister and caddie Brittany) might do some shopping, get some lunch close to the beach and maybe hang out there a bit.”

Clearly Henderson would have liked better than the one birdie-one bogey return her third round yielded.

But so rugged were the conditions at Royal Adelaide that her 73 had lifted her more than a dozen positions on the leaderboard by the time she’d finished – and inevitably a lot more by the close of play tonight.

“I’m happy with my round today. I’d have liked a few more birdies and maybe climbed up the leaderboard a little more, but it’s really windy and I heard it’s going to get more windy as the day goes on, so it’s kind of good for me and hopefully I’ll move up a little bit,” she said.

Another chipping issue on the 8th, as it did on Friday, cost Henderson her only bogey. She smiled and vowed she would exact revenge on the short par-four tomorrow.

On the positive side, though, those chips – and her short game generally – appeared to be rounding into the shape she’d expect later in her round, culminating with a birdie on 17 and a near hole-out from just off the front right edge of the 18th green.

“I’ve never really chipped this much before in a tournament so I’ve had a lot of time to work on it, which I think I’m starting to see,” Henderson only half-joked.

“I had a great chip on 11 and then on 18 and I think maybe one or two in between there. I think it’s definitely coming around.”

And regardless of scores, the 19-year-old was extremely grateful for the generous gallery who fell out of bed so early to come and watch her.

“That was amazing. I did not expect that at all, so early and by myself. It was really cool and I really appreciate it all.”