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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The LPGA's Newest Queen Heads Home

As many of us expected, on Tuesday Mike Whan granted LPGA membership "effective immediately" to Brooke Henderson after her dominating win at the Cambia Portland Classic this past week. Brooke's victory moved her up 15 spots in the Rolex Rankings to #17 and made her the first Canadian woman to win an LPGA event since Lorie Kane back in 2001.

The only real question was whether she would take the immediate membership or wait until next year when she'd have a better chance of winning Rookie of the Year. As it stands, she has only a few events to make enough money to qualify for some of the year-end invitational events and to try and catch ROY leader Sei Young Kim, who has two wins and 976 points. The Louise Suggs ROY Award is very prestigious and it wouldn't have surprised anyone had she elected to make 2016 her rookie year.

But Brooke answered that question very quickly. She'll be headline news this week when she makes her first appearance as an LPGA member at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open, sharing the media stage with defending champion So Yeon Ryu.

Defending champ So Yeon Ryu and new LPGA member Brooke Henderson

A bit of history here: The CP Women's Open is the newest incarnation of what used to be the du Maurier Classic, a major on the LPGA Tour. The du Maurier lost its sponsorship due to complications from the Tobacco Products Control Act; du Maurier was a cigarette company. In 2001 the RICOH Women's British Open took its place as the LPGA's fourth major and the former du Maurier Classic reverted to its original status as the Canadian Open.

When the Canadian Open began back in 1973 it was won by Canadian Jocelyne Bourassa. To this day she is the only Canadian winner of the event. Back in 2012 this was then 14-year-old Brooke's first LPGA appearance, and you can bet that Brooke will certainly be the favorite among the Canadian fans to break the drought.

Aside from that storyline, this is the last chance for Solheim Cup hopefuls to either qualify for their repective teams or just impress their captains in hopes of a pick. In case you don't know how the teams are chosen:
  • The American team is made up of the top eight from the US Solheim Cup points list, two more players are taken from next week’s Rolex Rankings, and Captain Juli Inkster will make her two Captain's Picks next Monday night (to be broadcast on GC at 7pm ET).
  • The Euro team already has four members taken from their Solheim Cup points list -- Suzann Pettersen, Gwladys Nocera, Charley Hull and Melissa Reid -- four more will be taken from next week's Rolex Rankings, and Captain Carin Koch will name the final four Tuesday morning during GC's Morning Drive.
Clearly there's a lot riding on this week's event, so expect some serious competition at the Canadian Open. GC's live coverage of Brooke's maiden voyage as an LPGA member begins Thursday evening at 6pm ET.

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