As she walked up the 18th fairway at the CP Women’s Open, throngs of cheering fans were cheering Brooke Henderson’s name.
It was then she finally allowed herself to take in the enormity of what was happening: she was going to win the CP Women’s Open.
“I know that might sound a little silly because I did have a few-shot lead, but anything can happen down that stretch. I was pretty nervous. This was a big deal for me,” Henderson said after hoisting the trophy.
“To be able to hit that shot in and finally know that it was basically over was incredible, and I felt like that was the first time all day that I could really just smile and really enjoy everything to its fullest.”
That shot, by the way, ended with a birdie. She went 7-under-par on the day, 21-under par for the tournament and made history.
The crowd erupted around her, her family and friends armed with champagne descended on the 20-year-old Henderson, soaking her from head to toe with it.
The crowd, moved by Henderson’s win, began to sing O Canada.
Henderson cried as the moment finally hit her. She was a champion and she did it on home soil.
“That’s so cool. To hear my name and then to hear O Canada right after, just an incredible experience overall. I don’t know, 10 minutes from when I hit my second shot in on 18 to when I made that putt and when the celebrations all happened, those are the things I’ll remember forever,” she said.
“I definitely feel like it was meant to be this week,” she added. “Everything just kind of seemed to fall my way.”
It was a whirlwind week for Henderson, who was in the mix from the very start. She ended round one tied for sixth and 6-under-par. By the end of Friday, she had climbed to second place and played another round of 6-under golf, but it was Saturday – despite the windy conditions and cold – she was able to capture the lead. She started Sunday alone at the top of the leaderboard and never looked back.
“I feel like my game is in a really good spot right now, and I just hit the ball exactly where it needed to be and I got some breaks and I made some,” Henderson said. “I just tried to stay really focused (on Sunday) and not let it slip away.”
Focused was a good word to describe Henderson, locked in was another. She was a little less interactive with the crowd as she focused on the task at hand – but they did not go unnoticed.
“The crowds were incredible all week. Walking to the first tee on Thursday, I didn’t think there was going to be that many people and the crowd just seemed to grow bigger and bigger every single day, even every minute. (Sunday) was incredible. To have their support and then to play as well as I did and hoist this trophy – I’m just so excited.”
In winning the CP Women’s Open, Henderson became just the second Canadian woman to do so. The last one was Jocelyne Bourassa 45 years ago.
The golf legend sent a message along to the 20-year-old who had finally followed in her footsteps.
“My win in 1973, in front of so many Canadian golf fans, was the most special moment of my golfing career and I can imagine how satisfying this accomplishment must feel for Brooke and her family,” the message read, in part.
Henderson was quick to thank her family – especially her sister Brittany – who is her caddy for what she was able to accomplish.
“This was a big dream and a big goal for all of us, and I think it’s just a cumulative effort of all us that gave me the chance to be able to lift that,” she said.
“I’m the national champion,” Henderson beamed. “So that’s pretty cool.”