Brooke Henderson Gets RICOH Women’s British Open Invite


Less than a year ago, when 17-year old Brooke Henderson turned pro, she faced an uncertain future.  Denied an age waiver to compete for a 2015 LPGA card at the Tour’s Q-School, Henderson remained determined to use available access routes — sponsor invites and Monday qualifiers — to a place on the LPGA Tour.  Her future just got a whole lot less certain with a special exemption to the LET-LPGA co-sanctioned RICOH Women’s British Open that will be contested July 30-August 3 at Trump Turnberry Resort in Scotland.

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Brooke Henderson splashed onto the pro golf scene in 2014 when, playing as an amateur, she finished T26 at the ANA Inspiration (then Kraft Nabisco Championship) and then T10 at the US Women’s Open, a finish that assured her a place in the 2015 field.

Since January 2015, taking it step-by-step, Henderson has played her way toward her singular professional goal — full status on the LPGA Tour.  She’s played in seven LPGA events and earned in excess of $300K.  At mid-season, Henderson’s sitting comfortably at 21st on the Tour’s Official Monday List, but she needs more playing opportunities to have a shot at ending the season inside the top-40.

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With her Four Winds Invitational win last month Henderson gained official Symetra Tour status and her winnings there will now begin to count toward the Volvik Race for the Card, an alternative route to 2016 LPGA Tour status as well.

Things just got a whole lot better for the talented Canadian teen.  The RICOH Women’s British Open Championship Committee has awarded Henderson a special exemption for the 2015 Championship, announcing this unusual step on the Championship’s web site:

"Seventeen year old Canadian Brooke Henderson turned professional at the end of 2014 and, with only limited playing rights, has stormed up the rankings and currently sits at No.46 on the Rolex Rankings. Henderson’s impressive professional debut has resulted in the Championship Committee awarding her a special exemption into the 2015 Championship."

Already holding an exemption to the US Women’s Open, Henderson had been quietly exploring avenues that would provide access to the field for both the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship.  She responded to the Championship Committee’s announcement with teenaged delight:

"I am so excited to play in my first Ricoh Women’s British Open and I am very grateful to the Championship Committee for granting me this opportunity. I played in the 2012 Ladies British Amateur at Carnoustie and I absolutely loved visiting Scotland so I am super excited to be heading back there again. I really enjoyed the different challenges of playing links golf in Scotland and, now that I have gained a little more experience, I think I will enjoy it even more. I can’t wait to get to the Trump Turnberry Resort."

And this fan is eager to watch Brooke Henderson tee it up in a star-studded field that will include all of the current top 20 players on the Rolex World Ranking, along with all of the current top 20 on both the LPGA Race to the CME Globe and the LET Order of Merit who will be competing in the 39th edition of the Championship for a prize fund of £1,990,266 (US $3 million), plug very big bragging rights!

I’ll be especially eager to watch Henderson go up against Inbee Park, who’s going to be teeing off looking for the victory that will give her the coveted Grand Slam!

Next: Inbee Park Has Her Eyes On the Grand Slam