January 20, 2023
Orlando, Florida, USA
Lake Nona Golf & Country Club
Q. Here with Brooke Henderson after her second round at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. Hot start for you today. What did you have for breakfast? What did you do this morning? How did you manage that?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was a lot of fun to get four consecutive birdies on the front nine. Really kept the momentum going. To finish the back nine with two birdies too felt well nice.
It was just really exciting day. Having an opportunity to play with Annika and John again was just really cool. I think everyone on tour, we all look up to Annika, so to have an opportunity to play alongside her, same group, was pretty special.
Q. This is the first time you had played with Annika. What were your impressions and what was her impressions of you?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I don't know that one, but, no, just really special, and I feel like I'll remember it forever. Just one within of those opportunities sort of of a lifetime. Like I said, we all look up to her out here on tour. She's a kind and obviously a great player, and I think we can all learn a lot from her.
Q. We spoke about it yesterday, of the 14 clubs that you have that are new, very few people have talked about the putter. That putting stroke looks as good maybe as it ever has. What is it? Does it look better? What's caused this?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I love the feel of it. Right way I was really fond of my new putter, and it's been working well so far this week. I think in the off-season I did a lot of putting and chipping originally when I couldn't do full swings, so I think that has been paying off a little bit as well. The putter feels good right now.
Q. Do you feel as though you can be comfortable wit where your alignment is at that point with it?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, starting last year, putting with the pin in, putting left-hand low, slow progress, and I think it just keeps on getting better. So hopefully we can just continue to make improvements with the putter and hopefully more putts will fall in the future.
Q. Can you take us through the highlights a little bit of that early birdie run?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, so birdied the second hole, the par-5. Unfortunately didn't hit a great tee shot, so had to go for the green in three instead of two, but was able to make the putt, make a birdie.
Followed it up, birdie on the next hole.
Then on the par-3 I almost made a hole in one, which was pretty cool.
Q. What did you hit there?
BROOKE HENDERSON: 6-iron, and it was just like six inches, so it was a nice tap-in. Next hole made another birdie as well. A little wedge in and probably had like six feet and made birdie.
So it was a really hot start. Felt really nice. And then made two on the back, which is also good to kind of keep the momentum going a little bit with the birdies.
Q. What was the learning curve as a player in your development when you have hot starts like that to keep it going and keep the petal down?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, that's kind of a tricky question, but I think just continue to have the same mindset of pushing for birdies, trying to get a really low score, try not to get complacent.
Q. Sorry if I'm making you repeat something, but when did your upper back start to bother you, and when did it go away?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I would say the pinnacle was at Pelican. That was like the worst it was, obviously having to withdraw and not being able to swing.
So then CME was very sore still, but I was able to manufacture a new swing that kind of worked for four days and got me through it.
Then in the off-season took a lot of time where I didn't do anything, and then have been trying to strengthen it and slowly get back in, but it feels really good right now.
Q. When did it start to feel really good again?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Honestly just like a couple weeks ago. It's still -- like off the course I'm still trying to it strengthen and get it better. Not 100%, but on the course I feel no pain, which is all you really want.
Q. So you feel like your swinging exactly the way you want to now?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yep.
Q. Nothing is altered?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, no. I'm able to swing aggressively and I'm not thinking about it, which is obviously ideal.
Q. Was it one swing during a round or was it like warming up or... when it first started.
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think it was just slowly getting worse. In October I played Texas no problem. Then I played the LET event and that bothered me a little bit on the weekend. Since then it was a slow buildup, and then Pelican being the worst.
Q. Given the new clubs, the shot on 2, wedge to a tight pin, the shot on 14, wedge to a tight pin, how satisfying are the results of those shots knowing that this is the first time that you put those new clubs in play in competition?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, I feel like a lot of things have been working really well, especially the wedges. Feels really nice to be able to feel aggressive, and they're holding really well, which is sort of a new thing for me.
On No. 2 I was able to spin it back, which is also a great feeling.
So there has been lots of bonuses and lot of perks with the new switch. Obviously shooting multiple rounds under par with a lot of birdies a lot the things are going right, so hopefully we can continue that.
Q. Given the fact that you had to withdraw from the second-to-the-last tournament of the year and you had to manufacture a swing in the last tournament of the year, how much more motivated were you to come into this first tournament of the year clean slate and just kind of put the pedal down?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it feels really nice to, like I said, be aggressive with those swings. With this new drive it's really nice to be aggressive with it, because it can take a lot of power if you have it.
So I think just continuing to strengthen and improve, and hopefully the back will be a nonissue moving forward.
Q. Did you come into this week saying, I want to start the year with a win?
BROOKE HENDERSON: I think that's the goal of probably everybody here, to get off to a hot start. I'm just grateful to be putting up good scores, lots of birdies, and it hasn't been too many issues the last two days.
So hopefully just going into the weekend I can just make a bunch of birdies, try to go low, and see what happens.
Q. The older among us take a lot more holistic approach to health. Do you think your wisdom teeth might have had something to do with your upper back?
BROOKE HENDERSON: See, I thought that. I did ask the oral surgeon that took them out, and he didn't really think that it was too much of a connection.
But I do think that it my been a little bit of compensation that made it worse.
Q. You touched on it a little bit, but tomorrow, third round, 4-shot lead, you're into the weekend. How do you approach tomorrow and moving forward?
BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, coming into the year I want to be in contention more, and so the first tournament back, and to be in the final groups on the weekend is awesome. It's a great place to be, so hopefully I can just make a bunch of birdies.
There is lots of golf to be played. It's only half over and there are lots of talented players and they're all going to go low this weekend, so I just have to do the same.
Q. Wisdom teeth thing was an off-season thing?
BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, right after CME.
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