Brooke Henderson: Wednesday Interview 2015

MODERATOR: All right, we would like to welcome Brooke Henderson, No. 17 in the world right now, to the media center here at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Brooke, one of the newest members out here on the LPGA. This is your first time out. How's it been so far?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It's been really cool. When I got my membership, I was really excited to come to Alabama. It's my first time and I didn't really know what to expect, but it's beautiful here and I'm really looking forward to the week.

MODERATOR: Have you been able to kind of get out in the city and explore at all?

BROOKE HENDERSON: No, we haven't, but I was playing with the mayor of Prattville today and he invited me up to a football game on Friday night so we're hoping to experience some of that.

MODERATOR: I know you were a hockey player before, but have you followed football at all?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Not a whole lot, it's not that big up north. I know it's really huge down here, so I think if we could go and see a game, we could sort of experience what it's like to be from Alabama.

MODERATOR: You're coming off quite of a busy week after coming from the Canadian Pacific Women's Open up in Vancouver this past week. You had a tied for 23rd up there, that was your first kind of welcome home since  since being on the LPGA as well. How was it for you?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It was extremely busy but it was an amazing week. The crowds were unbelievable. I don't think I ever had that many people following me and cheering me on, even when I wasn't really playing that well. I was around 50th going into Sunday and was able to play well and move up to T23. But crowds, they followed me all week. And the attention, it was not really something that I was used to. The first couple days coming off the win and then the membership, had a lot of media around me. But it was a great learning experience and hopefully I'll have more of it and I'll know how to react.

MODERATOR: You've had a great season so far in 2015 with five Top 10s, as you mentioned, a win up in Portland two weeks ago. So it's been kind of a whirlwind, accepting membership. Have you really had a chance besides your quick proam to see the course out here?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It was a long travel day on Monday. Our flight was really delayed leaving Vancouver so we ended up missing two connections and ended up being rerouted to Birmingham when we were originally flying to Montgomery. Anyway, long story short, we got in late Monday night, but we were able to play 18 holes on Tuesday even and then 18 holes today. I think I have a good feel for the course and we played with Alaina Sharp and she really helped me out with some lines off the tees and different things around the greens, so I was grateful to have so much knowledge coming from her on Tuesday. I'm really excited to tee it up tomorrow and see what happens.

MODERATOR: Stacy Lewis actually mentioned this is definitely kind of a bomber's course, wide open fairways, you hit it and you go find your ball and you hit it again. How do you think that will play to your game being such a long hitter yourself?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It is a very unique course and there's a couple little things you have to be careful, but I think around the greens you can use the slopes. If you can get the ball out far, you have short wedges in, it's definitely going to be to my benefit so hopefully I'm hitting it long and straight this week.

Q. Brooke, what was that win like? I know you had been in contention before, but that one you weren't  no one was really close on Sunday. Was that a different experience for you from your prior wins?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it was for sure. You know, earlier in the year I had a lot of great experience playing in final groups in San Francisco and in Texas. I had a feel for what the lead felt like. But then in Portland I didn't want to give it up and I was just trying to push forward and then trying to play really well so that nobody could catch me. I think for the first one it was nice to have that much of a lead, especially coming down the stretch, but I just tried to stick to my game plan and stay focused. It's pretty amazing to get my first win and I'm really happy about it.

Q. How much different was it playing as an LPGA winner when you got to that first tee Thursday in Canada?

BROOKE HENDERSON: It was cool. I got my membership on Tuesday and was able to tee it up on Thursday as an LPGA Tour member, which I dreamed really my whole life to do. So now I can start living the dream out here on the LPGA Tour. As I mentioned, the crowds were unbelievable in Canada. They were just as excited for me as I was for myself.

Q. I know you've talked about Morgan Pressel was your idol growing up. You played in the final group with her in Portland, kind of your hero growing up. You said she gave you a lot more time when you were little and you came to see her at an event. Was that kind of surreal to not only get your first win but to be playing with her as well?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, and I'm really happy I played with her in the final round in San Francisco first because I was a little more nervous then and was still looking up to her. In Portland I knew what it would feel like to play with her in the final round, so I was a little bit more prepared mentally for that and was able to just play my own game and not focus so much on her.

Q. Brooke, I have a couple questions for you. First question, how do you prepare yourself mentally for going into a tournament? Brand new player, what do you do to get yourself ready mentally?

BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, I think the mental game is something that's a real strength of mine and it has been for the last couple years, and I don't think it's really changed that much from an amateur tournament to minitour events, Symetra Tour, LPGA, they're the same. I scout the course a lot and try to get a good game plan together and just focus going into the tournament.

Q. And how do you feel this course is going to be challenging versus some of the other courses that you played?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Definitely the greens. If you get in the wrong places, it can be very challenging. I was trying some long putts today and you've really got to watch the grain and some of the slopes. I think if you can use the slopes to your advantage and make it so you get closer to the hole, just play smart around the golf course, I think you can really go low.

Q. Congratulations on your win in Portland. You mentioned you were so nervous on the 18th hole on the final day, so to me you don't get nervous on the golf course?

BROOKE HENDERSON: You know, I didn't feel nerves in Portland until the 18th hole on Sunday, which I thought was pretty cool. I was leading by five going in and was able to extend it to nine shots at one point and then back to eight on 18. I think it really finally just hit me on 18 that I'm going to do something that I've always wanted to do. I almost teared up before I hit that final putt in. It was really a dream come true. I think I was just so focused and so determined trying to achieve one of my main goals that I was just really driven to keep it going.

Q. You are the first player winning on the Symetra Tour and then regular tour in the same year. How do you feel about that?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I actually didn't know that. It's pretty cool. Yeah, it's been an amazing year really. I started out turning pro in December of 2014 and I didn't have a tour plan, just playing minitour events and getting some sponsors' invites to LPGA and Symetra Tour. Luckily, one of the sponsors' invites I was able to win on the Symetra Tour, which gave me membership, which gave me somewhere to play. Then a few weeks later I was able to qualify in Portland and win there as well.

Q. When did you start playing golf and when did you quit playing hockey?

BROOKE HENDERSON: I started playing golf when I was really young with my sister. We kind of started at the same time. She's six years older, so she started when she was nine and I started when I was three or four years old. So I played hockey when I was eight and then stopped playing hockey when I was 14 to focus more on golf.

Q. One of the reasons you chose membership as opposed to deferring to next year was so that you could get into Asia. How much is that weighing on you, having two events to try to get into Asia?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Well, it's something that would be really exciting and something that I would love to go over and do. One thing that Brit and I have always wanted to do is travel the world and we would get to do it together if I make the Asian swing. However, I know it's going to be very difficult this week and at Evian, which is a bigger purse, which is to my benefit. If I don't make it, it's not a huge, huge blow, it's just I'll get ready for next year. This way, it gives me the chance to play a really competitive fall season.

Q. Before you were going for the top 40 exemption, now it's totally changed, you're going for a different thing. It's kind of the same thing, isn't it?

BROOKE HENDERSON: Yeah, it's pretty cool how so many opportunities and so many doors have opened up for me. I've sort of just changed my goals along the way, and after the win things did get readjusted. I think if I can make enough money, it would be a lot of fun to go over to Asia. I would need at least two Top 10s or pretty close to that.

MODERATOR: Any additional questions? All right, thank you so much, Brooke.

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