GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NJ – Brooke Henderson closed with a 7-under 64 a year ago in the ShopRite LPGA Classic and finished second.
The 24-year-old Canadian matched that performance in the final round this year, and she still had some work to do. This time, she got the job done on Sunday after overcoming a 4-stroke deficit.
Henderson hit the first hole of the playoffs to beat Lindsey Weaver-Wright for his 11th victory on the tour and his first this year.
“I was just trying to come down and see what was going on,” Henderson said. “I didn’t think – I mean, I thought winning was a possibility, but there are a lot of really talented players ahead of me and I think I was 4 strokes behind going into the day.
“I knew it was going to take some magic, and I’m really happy to be sitting here next to the trophy.”
The real magic was his second playoff shot on the par-5 No. 18 at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club. She hit a 193-yard 7-wood from within 10 feet. She had used the same club to set up an eagle at No. 9 earlier in the day.
Weaver-Wright, a 28-year-old American still looking for her first tour win, forced the playoffs with birdies on four of the final six holes, including a long at No. 17 and a 10-footer at par-5. last hole for a 65.
Weaver-Wright found the fairway in the playoffs, but his second shot was short of the green. Her third shot landed about the same distance from the hole as Henderson’s, but she was out. She missed her birdie putt and Henderson, ranked No. 11 in the world, had no pressure for the Eagle to win to pocket $262,500.
“I’ve always loved a win and never tried to take it for granted, but with the pandemic in 2020 I’ve only played 10 events, and I think I’ve had six top-10s but no win,” Henderson said. “So that was a bit – it kind of shook the confidence.”
Henderson, who finished second in the tour opener this year, seems to have regained his confidence.
Although disappointed, Weaver-Wright was encouraged by her performance this week.
“That’s it, mostly because I haven’t played very well this year,” she said. “I mean second solo, my best ever result on the LPGA. This is my fifth year here. Like that’s a milestone for me. I’m just excited for the summer now.”
Henderson, whose last victory was in Los Angeles in 2021, took the lead with a short birdie at No. 12. She stayed there until Weaver-Wright birdied the 17th.
Playing in the group ahead of her, Henderson hit the par-5 last hole in two and fell behind on her eagle putt to grab the birdie range.
Weaver-Wright tied the birdie despite missing the fairway, sinking a 10-footer.
England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff eagled on the last hole to finish a shot behind the leaders at 11 under. She shot 67.
“I feel like I managed my emotions being in contention, and just a really good experience for the rest of the season,” said the 34-year-old who has never won on the tour.
No. 4 Lydia Ko also birdied the final hole and finished tied for fourth with Albane Valenzuela, a Swiss resident and former Stanford star looking for her first LPGA victory. They both shot 67s.
Brittany Lincicome, who is due to give birth to her second child in September, tied for sixth with New Jersey’s Marina Alex and Nasa Hataoka, who both won recently in California. Lincicome and Alex fired 67 shots, one shot better than Hataoka, who opened with four birdies on the first five holes to take a 2-shot lead.
“Finishing third being seven months pregnant, just being here competing, being in contention, means the world,” said Lincicome, 36, who hasn’t won since 2018. “It’s cool to be here for talk to you guys again. I haven’t done this in a while.
Defending champion Celine Boutier of France shot a 63 to finish in an 8-under group.
Frida Kinhult of Sweden started the final round at 9 under with a one stroke lead over fellow non-winner Lauren Coughlin. Both struggled, with Coughlin shooting a 72 to finish at 7 under and Kinhult finishing at 5 under after a 75.
Overnight rain flooded the course near Atlantic City and made the greens very receptive, helping the score.