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June 12, 2022

Brooke Henderson

Galloway, New Jersey, USA

Seaview, A Dolce Hotel

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: All right, welcome inside the virtual media center here at ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.

I want to talk about the emotions of the day before I throw it to those in the room. Brooke, you said on the green you knew you were going to have to make a bunch of birdies to come back. What were some emotions you were feeling on the first tee this morning?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, you know, on 18 yesterday I missed sort of a shot putt for birdie so I was disappointed and just really determined to get it back as quickly as I could today. So I was able to birdie the first hole, which was great, 1-under through 1, and then 5-under through my first nine holes.

So I was near the top of the leaderboard and that felt great, and going into the back nine I just tried to give myself tons of birdie looks and great opportunities to try to get it further under par.

To get two birdies on the back, and especially the one on 18 to eventually get into the playoff was really cool. Coming into today I just was trying to go low and see what happens. I didn't think -- I mean, I thought the victory was a possibility, but there are a lot of really talented players ahead of me and I think I was four shots back starting the day.

I knew it was going to take a little bit of magic, and I'm just really happy that I'm sitting here next to the trophy.

Q. You talked about on the green that you didn't want to put the trophy down, that you worked really hard for that. Not only has it been a year since your win, but you've been quite comfortable here at the Bay Course for quite sometime. What are the emotions of just getting that victory here at Seaview?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, this tournament has been around forever. It's a really special event to me. They gave me a sponsor's invite in 2015, so it's always been a really special place for me.

The last few years I finished really well. Last year I shot 64 in the final round again I think and finished second, so I've been really close. Just to have my name amongst all the other famous champions that have won this event, it really means a lot.

This course, it's just a lot of fun to play and there is a lot of birdie opportunities, so I just look forward to it every year. You mentioned not wanting to put the trophy down. You know, you play so many events and wins are hard to come by, and whenever you get a victory it's always really special.

I just wanted to hold tight to this one and hopefully get another victory here in the next few weeks, because there is a very busy schedule and I'm looking forward to competing.

Q. That eagle on 9 really jump started the rest of your round because that was the first time you had tied the lead for the day. Just walk me through that eagle on 9.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was pretty clutch looking back now. I hadn't birdied that hole all week, so I was really just trying to hit two solid shots, hit the green in two, and give myself an eagle look.

It was a very makable eagle look when I got up there, so I was really excited for that opportunity and I was able to make that putt. To go 5-under through the first nine holes, that really sort of made a statement. Gave me a lot of momentum going into the back nine.

Q. Of course you had some time to wait before the playoff. That approach shot on 18 on the playoff hole, just what were some of the feelings as you waited for that playoff, and what were the decisions that led to that incredible shot?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was a bit of a long wait, which makes it tricky. I just tried to eat a lot to get the energy up, and then I just went to the locker room and just reflected a little bit. I was just grateful for the opportunity to go out there.

To start the day if they would've said you're in a playoff to win I would've been super happy. I just tried to take that mindset. With playoffs you really only have one opportunity, so you kind of have to give it your all and go to win. I just tried to hit solid shots and was able to make eagle there, which is really cool.

Lindsey, she played great all week, and it's just super fun and I'm just so excited to get my 11th win. Just a huge thank you to my parents and sister and to God for making all this possible.

I'm just really excited moving forward.

Q. You mentioned how well you played here in the past: 11th, 6th, 2nd, so really only one place to go this year. Did you come in feeling like you were due to win here, almost a matter of time before you won here?

BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, last year I really got a taste of being in contention and right near the top of the leaderboard, so it left me a little bit hungry coming into this year. I was excited when I knew this event was coming up in the schedule.

About a month ago I looked and I was like, oh, yeah. This is really exciting, because I knew I had a great history here and I feel like this course suits my game well. It's fun to go out and make a bunch of birdies and to be sitting here Sunday afternoon. That's always the goal and that's the dream, so just feels great.

Q. What is it about the course and your game that matches well together?

BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, all the par-5s are reachable in two for me, which I think normally gives a bit of an advantage.

I love to make birdies and there is a lot of birdie opportunities out here. You know, the first two days you have to play pretty smart because the conditions were very firm and it was very windy.

I feel like Brit did a great job calculating yardage and telling me where to go. My dad, too, the night before strategizing. Today it played so much differently because of the rain we had. It was much softer so you could really attack.

I think that's probably why the scores were a lot lower today, and I'm just happy that I was able to capitalize on it.

Q. The approach on 18 in the playoff, how far out were and you what did you hit?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I had 193 to the pin. It was a little into the wind and I hit knock-down 7-wood. It's the same club I hit on 9 that I made eagle there, too, so that was -- that club was definitely working for me today. I'll have to give it a pat on the head later.

Q. Did you like it right away? Looked like on TV you kind of had a mixed reaction to it. What was the reaction right away?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, when I looked up and saw it I really liked it. I was just hoping that the wind would keep holding it because I did have a bit of a draw on it and so the wind of coming a little bit left to right and into, so fortunately the wind held it there and it was dead online.

Q. What's the reaction when you hit that shot you know put Lindsey in a tough spot? What's your reaction when see how close it is?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the goal was to hit the green in two and give myself a good eagle opportunity, especially when she didn't reach the green. I was just really trying to put a little bit of pressure on by hitting the green in two, so that was good.

Then to have it that close and to be able to make the putt and kind of finish in style is kind of fun.

Q. Yeah. And last one from me: You mentioned past players, Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Inkster, Betsy King, Karrie Webb, Hall of Famers have won here. To put your name on that list now, what does that mean?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's incredible. The list of champions here is phenomenal, so to have my name be a part of that and to be a part of history is really meaningful to me and very special.

You know, even just walking around this hotel you see the names everywhere and little memorabilia and it's always fantastic, so I'm just really excited to be a part of history and add my name to that incredible list.

Q. When you're one of the best players in the world but you hadn't won in a while and you know you're going to win again and you're so young, but do you start to put more pressure on yourself or is there a feeling of relief that, yeah, I can win again?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Early in my career I was winning like twice a year and then the pandemic put a little bit of a stop to that. Yeah, when the wins are kind of far apart it does mean more when you get another victory.

This one was I guess a little over a year, but feels like a long time I guess when you're used to winning a little bit more consistently.

It feels great. I just want to hold on to this a little bit longer. But I'm really looking forward to the upcoming schedule, Meijer next week and women's KPMG PGA in two weeks. I've won that, too, so two weeks in a row I've also been a past champion.

So looking forward to getting back to those events and hopefully putting in some solid rounds and putting myself back in contention.

I love being in the final groups on the weekend. That's the goal moving forward.

Q. Your sister caddieing for you, I spoke to her and she said you rarely have disagreements. I was just wondering how her relationship with you transferred into such a big win today?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, absolutely. She's amazing. She works so hard and does pretty much everything for me, which is really great. You know, out there, yeah, we got along so well on and off the course, so out there we're able to work through a lot of -- when adversity comes up we're able to work through it really well together.

I think trust is a big thing, just knowing she's always there for me and she's going to try her very hardest whether we're just trying to make the cut or in the final group on Sunday or making a climb like today.

It's been a lot of fun to have her on the bag for the last seven years, I think. Been a great relationship, and hopefully she sticks around a little longer.

Q. You had to switch your driver and also your putting grip and you drove the ball great. Can you just talk about going through changes like that when you've been so successful and now you're tweaking it a little bit, or maybe more than tweaking?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, the driver is very unfortunate that I had to switch. It's been a lot of extra hard work that I had to put in, a lot of extra testing and trying to get the right thing.

About a month and a half ago I switched again to a new shaft that has been working great. I'm really excited about it. I feel like I've got a lot of my distance back that I lost when I had to make the switch down to the shorter driver, so that's really exciting.

As you mentioned, today it really worked well for me, so that's really good moving forward. Yeah, the putting I'm always trying to figure it out, trying to be a little bit better, a little more consistent.

The girls out here, they're amazing putters, so unless you continue every day to try to get a little bit better yourself you're going to fall behind.

So the left-hand-low, for this to be the first win I have with it -- I have used it on and off couple years ago, so to have to work and get my first win with it is pretty exciting.

That's a lot to do with my dad, my coach, and sister, Brittany, who is caddie, just always trying to help me improve just a little bit so I can compete more consistently.

Q. Brooke, congratulations.


Q. You were talking about how you were kind of on a roll of winning multiple times in a season and then 2020 going winless. I'm curious if that has made you kind of appreciate the wins more now that you've had to experience a season where you haven't won?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, for sure. I've always loved a victory and never tried to take them for granted, but with the pandemic in 2020 I only played ten events, and I think I had six Top 10s but no victory.

So that was a little bit of a -- it shook the confidence a little bit. I was really grateful to get my tenth LPGA Tour victory in LA last year in 2021 pretty early in the season, so that felt nice. Since then I've just been trying to get Top 10s and put myself back in contention.

It's been a really solid start to the year this year, and it just felt like the win was right around the corner but wasn't coming as quickly as I would've liked.

But to get it here is awesome, and like I said, just really looking forward to the rest of the majors this year and the rest of the events coming up.

Q. Just a few questions from PGA.com. One of them is you talk about some changes you made in your game recently. What are some of the drills you've been working on recently or another part of your game that you think really clicked today and this weekend?

BROOKE HENDERSON: A lot would be with the putting. Ball striking, most of the time I'm pretty consistent and pretty high up in the stats with ball striking. So always just trying to keep that really consistent, you know, improve on it slightly.

The biggest thing for me is short game, and it has been since I came on tour. As I mentioned, the girls are so talented out here with putting that unless you're getting better almost every day you're going to fall behind.

Yeah, just trying to work through a few things, especially like the short ones. Just trying to get confidence back. This week and today I made a ton of putts, so that feels great. Just keep on doing what we're doing.

Q. And then last one. Based on your performance this week, what's something that the average golfer can take away from your play to help with their own game?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Oh, interesting. I mean, have fun. That's always number one.

But I feel like for me, I work a lot on ball striking because it puts me in good positions, and I feel like for the average amateur just knowing your distance of every club is really key. Go out to the range and shoot a few things with your laser and see where the ball lands with each club. It just helps a lot.

I work on that every single day, and Brit is out there on the range making sure that I'm hitting my numbers. I feel like that's a great thing to work on. Then you can always have birdie looks or par looks and whatever you need.

THE MODERATOR: I think that will do it for us here. Thank you, Brooke. Congratulations on a great win.

BROOKE HENDERSON: Awesome. Thank you.

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