by Dave Andrews
Brooke Henderson is close to doing something that has never been done before in the history of the LPGA.
The 17-year-old sensation from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada has played so well this season in just her eight appearances in LPGA events that she very likely will earn her 2016 LPGA rookie card by finishing this season in the top 40 on the LPGA money list.
In the eight events in which she has played so far this season Henderson has already amassed more than $458,000 in earnings. She now sits at #20 on the LPGA money list. When the LPGA season wraps up this fall that could be enough money for her to be ranked inside the top 40 on the final money list. Under LPGA policy that would earn her automatic membership on the tour for 2016.
Her membership is not guaranteed yet, and her $458,000 might not be enough to fall within the top 40 at the end of the year (it would have been more than enough last year). But she still has at least two, and probably three starts on the tour this year in which to earn even more money. She is guaranteed to play in the British Women’s Open at the end of July and the Canadian Women’s Open in mid-August. She is also very likely to earn a spot in September’s Evian Championship in France because she has climbed well inside the top 40 in the Rolex Rankings in women’s golf. She is now ranked #31 in the world. She could also “Monday qualify” to play in one or more events remaining on the LPGA’s domestic American schedule.
Henderson’s stunning performance in July’s U S Women’s Open has had the biggest impact on her chances to earn her LPGA membership for next year. Her T5 finish earned her more than $141,000, jumping her up to the $458,000 figure. Two other stellar finishes earlier this season; $132,000 for her 3rd place in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April and another $132,000 for her T5 finish in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June have also made a huge difference. In her eight starts on the LPGA this year Henderson has made the cut, and a check, in seven of them. Her only missed cut was in the Manulife LPGA Classic in early June.
Henderson, who turns 18 in September, seems destined to be another superstar on the LPGA for many years to come. She already has become a big draw at LPGA events in which she has played. She will become an even bigger asset to the tour when it can promote her as one of its full-time members. Of course, Henderson could earn immediate entry to the LPGA with a victory in one of her remaining events this season. That is not out of the realm of possibility either, considering how competitive she has already been this year. For example, she held the lead heading into the final round of the Swinging Skirts event.
Henderson, who seems mature beyond her years both on and off the course, could also earn LPGA status for 2016 by finishing in the top 10 on the Symetra Tour money list this season, and she will also have the option of earning tour status through the LPGA’s Q-School process. Right now however it appears that finishing in the top 40 on the season-ending money list is her most likely path to tour membership. In any event, 2016 will almost certainly see her as one of the official rookies on the tour, and the best seems like it is still to come for this engaging young player.
Dave Andrews is a retired television news reporter. He is also an avid golfer who has become a big fan and frequently caddies for the rising US and International golf stars of the LPGA and the Symetra Tour.
He is the author of Pops and Sunshine, a novel and screenplay about a young woman pro’s dream and struggle to make it to the LPGA.
The screenplay has been optioned by a production company in Hollywood. The novel is available at Kindle Ebooks.
Follow Dave online on Twitter @PopsandSunshine
Also by Dave Andrews
Caddying for Internationals on the Symetra and LPGA Tours
A caddy’s view of Canada’s Henderson sisters on their way to LPGA success.
Inside the ropes at the unique Patty Berg Memorial where LPGA Legends play alongside the future stars of the Symetra and LPGA Tours.
The rich history of the South Atlantic Women’s Amateur Golf Championship (The SALLY)where winners seem to automatically become multiple LPGA and Major Championship winners.