August 26, 2018
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
If you were to drive through the Prairie city of Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan, it would appear a ghost town. That is because the entire population had descended upon Wascana Country Club, to be witness to history being made on the golf course. They wanted to cheer on proudly Canada’s own Brooke Henderson, who would go on to shoot a seven-under 65 to win her first Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in her seventh attempt.
“It is a dream come true,” stated Henderson after her final round. “The crowds were incredible all week, particularly today. To have their support and then to play as well as I did and to hoist this trophy, I’m just so excited.”
This week has been defined by the golfers battling with the elements. The wind had swirled through Wascana on Friday and Saturday, leading to higher than average scores. And during the final round on Sunday, the rain arrived in Regina, making the course very wet and soft. But champions dig deep when adversity comes their way. The players who are often able to demonstrate mental strength in tough conditions are the ones that come out on top. Henderson did this on Sunday, able to shoot a bogey-free five under on the Back 9 when the rain was coming down the most.
“It was basically all four seasons except for snow,” laughed Brooke. “It definitely made it more challenging, but Britt and I really adjusted extremely well to all the different conditions. We did a really good job of knowing where to hit the ball, knowing where the best birdie opportunities were, and to stay patient when things got a little bit tougher.”
Whenever a golfer comes to play in his/her home country, there is an immense amount of pressure and expectations that come with that obligation. There are more appearances with press and sponsors. The entire country is on your shoulders, eager to watch you succeed to the highest degree.
In addition to the above, Brooke Henderson was coming into this tournament having not won on the LPGA Tour this summer and with a heavy heart. Both of her grandfathers had passed away this summer, two men who had provided mentorship and a loving influence in Brooke’s young life.
“The bond that we shared with our Gramps was truly special,” stated Henderson. “Between the golf courses, hockey rinks, our love of nature, just hanging out at home or our texts from afar, we shared so many great laughs, smiles and memories that will be deep in our hearts forever. We will miss him very much as he will also be missed by so many friends and family.”
But amidst all the raucous noise from the Saskatchewan crowds at Wascana, Henderson found her solace and peace on the golf course. As she walked up the 18th fairway in the forefront of a thunderous applause, she knew that her late Grandfathers were looking on, always part of that support system that enables her to have success on a golf course.
“My family has put in a ton of work for me to achieve this dream, including my Dad, my coach, my Mom and my sister Britt, who is my caddie,” stated Henderson. “It is a cumulative effort of all of us that gave me the chance to lift this trophy today. My grandfathers passed away this summer, so I really think they were helping me today.”
With Henderson’s victory, she moves into the elite annals of Canadian golf lore forever. She becomes the second Canadian golfer to win the CP Women’s Open, the first being Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973.
“It’s been 45 years since Canada celebrated a homegrown Canadian Open Champion and I couldn’t be prouder today to pass that incredible honour to Brooke Henderson,” stated Bourassa in a statement after Brooke’s win.
Henderson also becomes the fourth Canadian to win on home soil, joining Pat Fletcher, Jocelyne Bourassa, and Mike Weir as the only other golfers from Canada to do so. The young Canadian superstar’s win puts her at seven victories, only one shy of arguably Canada’s greatest female golfer, Sandra Post, at eight.
“Winning this event, there’s tons of history,” said the young Canadian. “I was happy that I was able to break that long stretch without a Canadian winning on the LPGA Tour. To look at the names on this trophy, it’s really incredible to be able to know that my name is going to be added there as well. This win will definitely help grow the game of golf in Canada and that’s a goal of mine as well.”
Sports have a powerful way of bringing people together, particularly in moments of suffering and grieving. Henderson was not the only one grieving but the entire province of Saskatchewan, as many still have the Humboldt Bus Crash tragedy still etched into their minds and psyches.
But when a city of Regina can unify around supporting their Canadian star athlete, it is a powerful healing mechanism in times of disaster and sorrow. When the Canadian National Anthem was sung by the spectators as Henderson would become champion, it was a testament to the freedoms that we are granted daily and the powerful impact sporting events and athletes can have on cities, communities, provinces, and nations.
Canada has witnessed spectacular sporting moments. Toronto Blue Jay Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series. Sidney Crosby scoring the Golden Goal to win the Gold Medal Game against the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Canadian Mike Weir being the first golfer from Canada to win The Masters. And now, we can add Brooke Henderson winning her country’s National Championship into this list of illustrious moments.
Canada now has a golfing sensation in young Brooke. And she is here to stay for generations to come.