As this is written, 17-year-old Brooke Henderson is in the lead at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic with two rounds to go. She shot 70-65 in the opening two rounds. On Lydia Ko's 18th birthday, who knew that a golfer even younger than Ko would steal some of the spotlight?
It's not a surprise, however, that Brooke is doing well in her rookie year as a pro. You only have to consider what she accomplished as an amateur in 2014: She was runner-up at the U.S. Women's Amateur; she won the Junior Orange Bowl, South Atlantic Ladies' Amateur Championship, Scott Robertson Memorial, Porter Cup and the Ontario Women's Amateur Championship. She made the cut at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and finished 10th at the U.S. Women's Open, earning low amateur honors.
But Henderson was winning professional tournaments even earlier: When she was still only 14, she won a tournament on the CN Canadian Women's Tour. And in 2014 - it was a big year - Brooke won two more Canadian Women's Tour tournaments. She ended 2014 as the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world rankings, then late in the year turned pro.
Henderson is playing the LPGA without any status in the early part of 2015; her request for an age waiver to take part in Q-School at the end of 2014 was denied. But if she keeps playing the way she has so far this week, Brooke will have enough money - or even a win - to gain status (or membership) sometime this season.
The following photo shows Brooke after winning low amateur honors at the 2014 U.S. Women's Amateur. With her is her caddie that week, who also happens to be her sister, Brittany. (Brittany Henderson is a highly accomplished golfer in her own right: She made it to the final stage of LPGA Q-School in 2014; while at Coastal Carolina University she won the conference championship in 2012 and was the conference Player of the Year in 2013. Brittany is playing the Symetra Tour in 2015.)