Rested and ready, Brooke Henderson eyes another major win at Evian Championship

Brooke M. Henderson, of Canada, tees off on the ninth hole during the second round in the Women's PGA Championship golf tournament at Congressional Country Club, Friday, June 24, 2022, in Bethesda, Md. (Terrance Williams/AP)

Brooke Henderson is returning to action on the LPGA Tour rested and ready to try to contend at another major championship.

The Amundi Evian Championship, contested at the Evian Resort Golf Club in the Alps just minutes from Lake Geneva, is the fourth of five majors on the LPGA Tour schedule. Henderson finished tied for 25th a year ago.

The Canadian, who won the ShopRite LPGA Classic earlier this year for her 11th LPGA Tour title, sits fourth on the Tour’s Race to CME Globe season-long points race.

She last teed it up at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in late June, where she finished tied for 16th. She has had as steady a season as you could ask for and has seemingly returned to the way she was playing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from two missed cuts earlier in 2022, that T-16 result at the Women’s PGA was her worst of the year.

Even her putting, which many consider the weaker part of her game, has improved year-over-year. She’s 58th on the LPGA Tour in Putting Average so far in 2022, a jump from 111th in the same category a year ago.

Will Henderson manage to win a major this week, finding the winner’s circle at one of the LPGA Tour’s biggest events for the first time since 2016?

Her quest for a major title headlines the four things to watch for this week at the Evian Championship.

Henderson returns to action

Henderson’s major-championship efforts so far this season have been solid. She finished tied for 13th at the Chevron Championship, tied for 15th at the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, and tied for 16th at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

In fact, she has only finished outside the top-25 in a major once since 2020.

The Evian Championship (like the Chevron) is contested at the same course each year and Henderson said that, although it doesn’t necessarily make it easier, having course knowledge and previous experience is helpful.

“You learn a bit more each time and better understand the shots required,” she told Sportsnet.

Henderson, whose best result at the Evian Championship is a tie for ninth in 2016, said she’s feeling refreshed after her summertime break. She played four straight weeks – including two majors – prior to her time off.

The 24-year-old will tee it up this week at the Evian, play the Women’s Scottish Open for the first time, and then the AIG Women’s Open before returning to Canada to prepare for the CP Women’s Open.

“Finishing this next stretch will certainly be mentally and physically demanding, but I am excited to get back out there,” said Henderson. “Hopefully I’ll have some good finishes.”

Brooke Henderson of Canada hits the ball from the bunker on the 7th hole during the final round of the LPGA Honda Thailand golf tournament in Pattaya, southern Thailand, Sunday, March 13, 2022. (AP)

Lee looking for more

Minjee Lee won last year’s Evian Championship in dramatic fashion, and since her maiden major triumph she’s been on an all-time tear.

Lee, who chased down 54-hole leader Jeongeun Lee after a Sunday 64, trailed by seven shots heading into the final round. She topped Jeongeun in a playoff after making birdie on four of her final five holes in regulation a year ago.

Lee won the Cognizant Founder’s Cup earlier in 2022 along with the U.S. Women’s Open. She sits first on the Tour’s Race to CME Globe and the money list thanks to five top-3 finishes. She also finished tied for second at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

The Australian is a cumulative 24-under par for the major championships in 2022, the most under-par by 13 strokes over the next-best performer.

There’s no doubt the defending champion should be considered the favourite this week.

Kupcho keeping at it

Jennifer Kupcho has finally broken through. And now the wins are coming at an impressive clip.

Kupcho, who won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 before turning pro, took nearly three years before she finally won on the LPGA Tour, but she did it in a big way – capturing the Chevron Championship in April for not only her first title, but also her first major.

She has since gone on to win the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give in a playoff and last week’s event, the DOW Great Lakes Bay Invitational – a team event alongside fellow American Lizette Salas.

Kupcho has proven through 2022 that, no matter the setting, her game has travelled well. She is looking to become the first American since 1999 to win two majors in a single LPGA Tour season.

Nelly Korda, seen here at the Cognizant Founders Cup in October, is tied for the lead at the Pelican Women’s Championship. (AP/file)

Notables in the Major mix

Other notables eager for a solid finish in France include:

Nelly Korda

• Since returning from a multi-month break due to surgery after suffering a blood clot in her arm (She said she’s feeling 100 per cent now) Korda has started to return to form. She has three top-10 results since she got back to action in June, including a playoff loss. “After being out for so long, I feel like your appreciation for being (able) to travel and play golf grows a little bit more,” said Korda. “So in a sense refreshed, and yes, happy to be here.”

In Gee Chun

• Chun won the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her third major title. She returned to her native South Korea, she said, and fans were at the airport waiting to greet her. Chun holds the scoring record at the Evian Championship, having won it in 2016 with a 21-under par score.

Jin Young Ko

• It will be interesting to see if the world No. 1 can turn her major-championship efforts around this week. While she won the HSBC Women’s Champions in March, Ko has been a non-story in two of the three majors so far in 2022.

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