Over the weekend Brooke Henderson became the KPMG Women’s PGA champion. At just the young age of 18 she joined Lydia Ko on becoming the youngest to ever win the tournament. She beat World No.1 Ko in a sudden death play-off to capture her first major victory at Sahalee CC in Sammamish, Washington.
Having young inspiring females winning and showing form at the highest stage of the game, will surely encourage growth of the game. The current top ten in the women’s game are all under the age of 30 and the top 8 are all under 25. The women’s game is showcasing a large amount of very young talent, and it is making for more exciting golf.
Age definitely comes with more experience but age doesn’t determine whether you win a tournament or not. In 2015, Brooke was denied an exemption by the LPGA, as she was under the minimum age requirement of 18. How she responded was by entering a Monday qualifier for the Cambia Portland Classic, winning it by 8 strokes and therefore being granted membership to the LPGA.
So what was it that placed two of the youngest players in the field at the top of the leader board? Their stats breakdown was identical in scoring average (69.5) and fairways in regulation (10.25/14). Average greens in regulation for the tournament were similar with Brooke on 12.5/18 and Ko on 13.25/18. Where they differed was distance off the tee and putting average for the week. Brooke was longer off the tee with an average driving distance on 266.38 against Lydia’s average distance which was 251.50. Brooke also beat World No.1 on the greens with an average of 28.75 putts per round versus Lydia’s 29.75. All very impressive stats especially over a course that only saw 7 players break par.
There are three majors left on the women’s calendar and with the young talent taking charge, all three are setting up to have an interesting battle. Exactly what the women’s game needs.
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By Rachael McQueen, Community Engagement Executive at Shot Scope