The next major championship on the 2017 LPGA Tour calendar is underway this week in Chicago, where Titleist golf ball loyalist Brooke Henderson (Pro V1) looks to defend her title at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Henderson captured the first major crown of her career at last year's Women's PGA at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington. The Canadian charged home with a 6-under-par 65 in the final round, tying the lead after 72 holes of regulation play. On the first hole of the ensuing playoff, Henderson flagged her approach shot to 3 feet, setting up a tap-in birdie that sealed the victory.
"Winning my first major was amazing," Henderson told Team Titleist. "It was a perfect week for me, starting off with a hole-in-one on Thursday and throughout the week being really close to the lead."
"Going into Sunday, I knew I had a chance to do something special, but I needed an incredible round," Henderson added. "Everything seemed to go perfectly for me. I was able to shoot minus-six on Sunday in a major, which is kind of unheard of and then finished it off in a playoff against the No. 1 player in the world."
And when we asked Brooke about any shots that stood out that week, she didn’t miss a beat when recalling a couple of her favorite memories.
"Two shots that week really stand out for me, both with my 7-iron. I had a hole-in-one on Thursday (which came at the 152-yard uphill par-3 9th hole at Sahalee) and then I came up big again with the 7-iron in the playoff."
This year's tournament will be contested on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club, a classic parkland layout designed by Willie Park, Jr. in 1922. The Club has hosted two PGA Championships, two U.S. Opens, five Western Opens, a U.S. Senior Open and, most recently, a U.S. Amateur Championship which the club hosted in 2015.
Olympia Fields North Course - No. 12 | Par 4 - 366 Yards
This week, the North Course will play to par-71 and measure 6,588 yards in length. It's a track that requires thought and commitment on every shot, particularly on the first four opening holes, which can set the tone for the entire round. Most tee shots are challenged by fairway bunkers, water hazards or strategically placed trees. To have any chance of attacking the pins at Olympia Fields, it's essential to play from the correct sides of the fairways.
Henderson is up for the challenge ahead this week and the 19-year-old is riding the momentum of her win just two weeks ago at the Meijer LPGA Classic and speculated that the winning score is likely to be right around even-par.
"It's a tough golf course, especially if the wind picks up," Henderson said. "I played Olympia Fields in the U.S. Junior a few years back and I really look forward to getting back. I think it suits my game really well and I'm excited to go and defend my championship. It would mean so much to repeat and do it again."
Best of luck this week, Brooke and good luck to all of Team Titleist!