Brittany Henderson has not been missing a week on younger sister Brooke’s pocket since February 2016. That will change this week at Meijer LPGA Classic after Brittany’s visa expired on June 15th.
Brooke, two-time Meijer winner (2017 and 2019), has to face the challenge of a new face and changes to the track in order to defend her title. (The Meijer was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
“You know, I’m definitely sad that Brit isn’t with me this week,” Brooke said. “Definitely a big change. I think the most important thing this week is to try to keep things simple and have fun on a golf course that I played really well before. “
This year has been challenging, but it’s also been a blessing 🤵♂️ 🤵♂️ Starting together forever is the greatest blessing of all! I love you, be ️
(📸: Mickey DeJong) pic.twitter.com/siT37N9SI2
– Zach Sepanik (@zachsepanik) October 30, 2020
Brittany married Grand Rapids-born Zach Sepanik last September and applied for new immigration status. Sepanik works for the LPGA communication team and is back at home in Meijer this week. The couple bought a home in Naples, Florida after getting married and working with Senator Marco Rubio’s office to speed up paperwork.
“Brooke knows how to play really well on this court,” said Brittany. “It’s hard for me to sit back and not do a lot, but I think they did it.”
Brooke will have veteran looper Everette Nini this week.
“Everette is a good friend,” Brooke said, “and he’s great fun to be with, so I think he’ll definitely make the move a little easier.”
The Meijer was a special tournament for the Hendersons – there is even a Brooke Henderson Lane – Brooke won twice on Father’s Day. Dave Henderson is Brooke’s instructor, but their tournament collaboration has been remote since the pandemic. Brittany, a former Symetra Tour player, has mainly helped on the greens.
In April Brooke ended a triumphant drought that went back to June 2019 in impressive fashion at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open, defeating Jin Young Ko, Jessica Korda and Hannah Green at the historic Wilshire Country Club with a closure of 67 to their 10th birthday Collect LPGA titles.
Henderson said the feeling at Blythefield Country Club reminded her of her home in Smiths Falls, Ontario, especially the trees and the weather. This is the first week at the LPGA that there are no restrictions on the number of fans allowed on the property, and there will be many to follow after the winning Canadian player.
No LPGA player has won more than once in 2021. In order for Henderson to score three goals at Meijer, she has to adapt her strategy.
“A couple of tees are definitely more difficult once the bunkers have been placed,” she said of the course changes. “(No.) 18, 9 and 2 somehow come to mind because the bunkers protrude in such a way that they narrow the fairway. I used to cut a few corners and take aggressive lines at the holes that I can’t really do that anymore. … You definitely make it harder for me, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I love this place. “