Brooke Henderson brings pro golf to Smiths Falls
One day after finishing tied for 5th at the Women’s PGA Championship, Brook Henderson received an important award.
Her high school diploma.
And, perhaps fittingly, it was presented to her on a golf course.
The 17-year-old golf sensation returned to her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario to co-host a charity Pro-Am tournament with her golfing sister Brittany.
The day included an impromptu greenside graduation. The demands of professional golf will keep Henderson away from her actual graduation day, so her friends and teachers decided to bring the ceremony to her.
“It’s awesome. It’s unbelievable, the amount of support that’s around here,” says Henderson who, for the first time since turning pro, was back on the course where she learned the game. “I love seeing my family and friends again and being home on my home golf course.”
Part of the day’s proceeds were earmarked for Henderson’s long-time friend, Neil Doef. The hockey player is recovering from a paralyzing spinal cord injury. He rode in a golf cart for most of the day but walked briefly and stood for a picture with Henderson and many of their friends. “It’s amazing. I definitely appreciate it a lot, the two girls raising money for me. I mean, they’ve been awesome for this town,” says Doef.
And the town of 9,000 had never seen a day like this. The Hendersons’ star power helping to attract several LPGA and Canadian Tour pros to play a round with local duffers.
The pros return to the course Tuesday and Wednesday to vie for $60,000 in prize money as part of the Canadian Women’s Tour. “It’s great for women’s golf and it’s great for Smiths Falls,” says spectator Sharon Crooks.
At the centre of it all is a hometown girl who’s not yet old enough to enjoy a drink at the clubhouse, but has already proven she can play golf with the best in the world.