(File Feature Photo by Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source)
By Kyle Galdeira
For the first time in event history, there is a repeat champ at the LOTTE Championship.
Defending tournament champion Brooke Henderson braved another round of stiff breezes and warm conditions and carded a 2-under par 70 Saturday afternoon to maintain and finish with the tourney lead (-16) to claim a second straight the LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey trophy at Ko Olina Golf Club in ‘Ewa, O‘ahu.
Henderson, who finished three strokes better than the average score on Saturday, held off Eun-Hee Ji (-12), and Ariya Jutanugarn and Minjee Lee (-11).
“I knew it was going to be a tough task with the wind blowing as strong as it was,” said Henderson, who notched her eighth career victory and first of the season. “Just tried to make sure we hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, played on the smart side of the wind. I think patience was a huge key this week.”
Henderson’s victory on Saturday represented her second career title defense – she was the 2015 and 2016 champion of the Cambia Portland Classic. She also tied the record for most victories on the LPGA or PGA Tour by a Canadian, joining Sandra Post, Mike Weir, and George Knudson.
“This week was really special. I always love coming to Hawai‘i,” said Henderson, who hit eight of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, while making 30 putts.
Henderson took home the $300,000 championship prize as part of the event’s $2 million purse.
“I love this golf course. Even stepping on to the course, I guess early Monday, I was going around playing a practice round and I just kind of said to myself, ‘I can see why I play well here.’ Every hole suits my eye and I feel like I can make birdie,” said Henderson.