Five Canadians to kick off LPGA season opener

Jennifer Ha (NWGA Tour)

Five Canadians will be among the 108 competitors kicking off the LPGA Tour season on Thursday in the Bahamas for the fifth edition of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.

The event will be the debut of 14 rookies, including Calgary’s Jennifer Ha, who earned full status in December with a T8 result at Qualifying School. Fellow Canadians Brooke Henderson, Alena Sharp, Maude-Aimee Leblanc and Augusta James are also scheduled to begin their seasons in the Bahamas.

“Yeah, actually I didn’t intend on putting the clubs away for as long as I did, but I think a break is good considering how busy it was last year and I just really enjoyed the rest and relaxation,” Henderson said with a smile. “So right after seeing me we spent a few weeks in Florida and just kind of vacationed a little bit in the sun,” Henderson said. “And then we went back home for a month where it was snowy and cold, we built snowmen, went to tons of hockey games, and just enjoyed seeing friends and family at home.  The last few weeks we went back down to Florida to practice and train and get ready for the season where, you know, practicing just a few little things that I wanted to be a little bit better at this year.”

The break did Henderson good as she enters 2017 motivated to build on an impressive 2016 season where she won twice including her first major at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

“You know, I’d love to get a few more wins and move my world ranking up a little bit. Being number two last year, you know, and then slipping back to eight kind of    it’s a good feeling to be number two so I’m trying to get back there and repeat that.”

The process of trying to climb back up the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings begins tomorrow for Henderson at the Ocean Club.

“You know, this course looks a lot different than it has,” Henderson admitted. “I actually played two years ago too.  I won the money qualifier, but it looks a lot different and looks a lot more scoreable. I think I was a little bit intimidated by it.  But it looks like if the wind stays down a lot of birdies can be made and a low score. So hopefully everything goes my way this week and I get a Top 10 or finish high.”

Rounding out the Canadian contingent is Quebec’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay, who Monday-qualified with a 71 to join the field.

In 2016, Hyo Joo Kim captured her third title on the LPGA Tour with a final round 7-under par, 66 to win at 18-under par, two-strokes ahead of Stacy Lewis, Anna Nordqvist and 2015 champion Sei Young Kim.

Click here for tournament information.