WOBURN, England (Reuters) - Not long ago Brooke Henderson was simply trying to make ends meet as a rookie on the LPGA Tour but fast forward 18 months and she is breathing down the neck of Lydia Ko at the top of the world rankings.
The workaholic Canadian, who has spent just two and a half weeks at home since Christmas, announced herself on the international stage by capturing a first major victory at the LPGA Championship in June.
Aged 18 years and nine months, Henderson became the second-youngest woman to capture a major after South Korean-born New Zealander Ko, the world number one.
Henderson followed up her stunning triumph at Sahalee, east of Seattle, by completing a wire-to-wire win as she staged a successful defence of her Portland Classic title in Oregon this month.
“It’s all very surreal,” the teenager told Reuters in an interview after returning a third-round 72 for a one-under-par aggregate of 215 at the Ricoh Women’s British Open on Saturday.
”Eighteen months ago I was way over 200th in the world and just trying to make my way on the LPGA Tour.
“Now I’ve won twice, including a major championship, so it’s all pretty amazing and I get to travel to places I would otherwise never have the opportunity to do,” said world number two Henderson.
“I‘m really blessed and really grateful and just trying to make the most of every moment.”
Henderson is a long way behind the Woburn leaders and will not be adding a second major title to her collection this week but she is already looking ahead to the final ‘Big Five’ tournament of the season, the Evian Championship in France in September.
”Hopefully I can get another major before the year’s end,“ she said. ”Winning the LPGA has been huge, I now get lots of fan attention and lots of media attention.
“I played 10 tournaments in a row coming into this week so a bit of jet-lag hit me this morning but for the most part I like to play as much as I can to get better.”
Henderson said she found it tricky putting on Woburn’s Marquess Course where some of the severely undulating greens look as if they have been built on top of a herd of elephants.
“I’ve been having a little bit of difficulty reading the greens, I just don’t have the energy or focus you require to make putts here,” she explained.
”To make the putts to put you at the top of the leaderboard it takes a lot of focus, not so much adrenaline, but a lot of positive energy.
“If someone makes a long putt they normally make putts all day and I feel I didn’t make any today which leaves me feeling a little negative.”
Henderson plans to take some much-needed time off after Sunday’s final round at Woburn before getting prepared to represent her country at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’ve got two weeks off before the Olympics and then there are two LPGA tournaments in Canada,” she said.
“It’s a busy time and I‘m looking forward to getting some rest and making sure I‘m fully ready to get back to playing again.”
Editing by Ed Osmond