Canadian Brooke Henderson will start as hot favourite for the 2016 RACV Ladies Masters which gets underway at RACV Royal Pines Resort tomorrow.
The 18year old, who is ranked 11 on the Rolex Women’s World Rankings will tee up alongside defending champion Su Oh and local favourite Rebecca Artis at 7:15 tomorrow morning.
Already a winner on the LPGA Tour when successful as a 17 year old last year, Henderson is already being touted as potential world number 1 material by many in the know. Her prodigious length off the tee is a real asset to a game that is solid all round with no obvious weaknesses.
Henderson’s breakthrough win in 2015 came at the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic, where she defeated a quality field by a massive eight shots after being forced to go through the rigours of Monday qualifying. Her victory made her the third youngest player in history to win an LPGA Tour event, behind World number 1 Lydia Ko and multiple LPGA winner Lexi Thompson.
The young Canadian had her second look at the newly re-designed RACV Royal Pines layout during today’s pre-tournament pro-am, and is looking forward to the challenge, “Overall, I think it will be a great test for the players here. As long as you play smart and put it in the right places, then you will make it okay”
Henderson comes into this event in fine form after a final round 67 saw her finish in a tie for 9th place at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide, on the back of 2 other top 10 finishes in her first two outings on the 2016 LPGA Tour in the Bahamas and Florida.
That she has not played the Royal Pines layout previously should not be such a disadvantage to Henderson given that all of this week’s field will be playing the new look layout for the first time. The second stage of the total redevelopment of the tournament layout was completed in time for the Australian PGA Championship in December and while many of those in this week’s field will have played the initial nine holes in last year’s staging of the RACV Ladies Masters the recently completed nine adds another dimension.
The new greens have had nearly three months of additional time to bed in following the PGA Championship in December, but RACV Royal Pines is still expected to provide a demanding examination for those involved.
Henderson is in Australia with her sister and caddie, Brittany, herself an accomplished player and the pair are enjoying their first trip down under and having each other to rely on.
“You know I love having her to travel with and see the world and experience all these things with her and then to also have her also on my back with me every day is ever day is really cool,” said Henderson in Adelaide last week. “When I was a little girl I grew up watching her and wanting to be like her and now I have her support with me. It really means a lot.”
Other players expected to challenge this week are former world number one Jiyai Shin, defending champion Su Oh and fellow aussies Sarah Kemp, Sarah Jane Smith, Stacey Keating and Rebecca Artis, 2014 Champion Cheyenne Woods, Englishwoman Melissa Reid, and the talented Danish trio of Nicole Broch Larson, Emily Pederson and Nanna Madsen.
For live scoring go to http://alpg.com.au/tournament.php?id=4261&pid=1150&sec=lb
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