KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) — Brooke Henderson successfully defended her title in the Lotte Championship on Saturday to tie Sandra Post’s record for LPGA Tour victories by a Canadian with eight.
The 21-year-old Henderson closed with a 2-under 70 at windy Ko Olina Golf Club for a four-stroke victory over Eun-Hee Ji.
“When I was younger it was just a goal to be on the LPGA Tour, to win my first event,” Henderson said. “And when that happened and I won my first major the year after, things kind of just started to fall into place. I knew the record was eight. Just kept creeping toward it the last three years, which was really exciting.
“And then I think starting last year I sort of saw that it was within my reach if I had two good seasons. Last year put me into great position, and coming back this year it’s been on the back of my mind every week that I tee it up. I’m just really happy that I have finally done it. Looking forward to overtaking it now.”
George Knudson and Mike Weir share the Canadian mark on the PGA Tour, also each winning eight times.
“It’s really amazing to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Mike Weir, George, and Sandra,” Henderson said. “This week was really special. I always love coming to Hawaii. Last year was such an incredible week for me, to be able to hoist that trophy for the first time. Coming back I knew I knew the golf course really well and I have so many great memories pretty much on every hole, which is a great feeling.”
Nelly Korda, tied with Henderson for the third-round lead, finished with a quadruple-bogey 8 for a 77 that left her seven strokes back at 9 under. She hit into the water twice on 18, then threw her ball in after finishing. The 20-year-old American also had a double bogey on the par-4 seventh.
“Pretty bad,” Korda said. “I mean, it was a tough day, but I ended really poorly and I’m pretty disappointed in that. … It was an unfortunate final round, but there is nothing I can do about it anymore.”
Henderson rebounded from a bogey on the par-5 first with birdies on the par-4 third and par-5 fifth, also birdied the par-4 11th and closed with seven straight pars to finish at 16-under 272.
“To come in today tied with the lead with so many amazing players tied with or just back of me, was … I knew it was going to be a tough task with the wind blowing as strong as it was,” Henderson said. “It definitely was really difficult.”
Ji opened with rounds of 64 and 65 to take the second-round lead, then shot 74-73.
“I play really good first two rounds and I didn’t play well last two rounds,” the Southern Korean player said. “First two rounds doesn’t have a lot of windy, but last two rounds was really windy out there. Playing a lot differently than first two rounds, so that makes it little hard.”
Ariya Jutanugarn (73) and 2016 winner Minjee Lee (74) tied for third at 11 under.
“Obviously, the wind was pretty tough today,” Lee said. “Probably the windiest out of all the days.”
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