The women’s professional golf season gets into full swing this week with two events on opposite sides of the globe.
Superstar Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., is the only Canadian in the field at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, the third stop on the LPGA Tour’s calendar. Likewise, Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., is the only Canuck playing in the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Fla., the season-opening event of the second-tier Epson Tour.
Henderson is No. 1 on the Race to CME Globe rankings after winning the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions on Jan. 19 to start the LPGA Tour season. She tied for 44th at last week’s Honda LPGA Thailand, despite not having her own clubs for the first two rounds of the tournament.
“It was a dream start, winning the first event of the year, a month and a half ago,” said Henderson at a news conference in Singapore as she outlined her goals for the season. “For me trying to make small improvements all the time and trying to get a little bit better.
“Trying to see if I can just continue to put myself in good positions on the weekend in contention and hopefully battle for a few more trophies.”
The Women’s World Championship has nine of the top 10 players on the LPGA Tour in the field and is considered one of the most elite women’s golf tournaments in Asia.
Henderson said she’s eager to test her mettle in the wet conditions at Sentosa Golf Club.
“If you’re going to be playing aggressively, you can chase after a lot more pins because it won’t release as much, which I think is good,” said Henderson. “It will probably result in a lot more birdies being made and possibly some lower scores.
“But also, I think it could be a very long week if there’s lots of delays, so just trying to stay patient.”
Like Henderson, Costabile is looking to regularly be in contention this year. In her case, that means consistently putting up good scores on the Epson Tour to try and earn her way into the top-flight LPGA Tour.
“I definitely want to get try to get a win out on the Epson Tour,” said Costabile as she drove from her home in south Florida to the Country Club of Winter Haven. “My goal is to get a win this year and get my LPGA Tour card, hopefully, or through the season money list or if I have to go to Q-series.
“But yeah, hopefully we move up this year.”
Costabile had some success on the Epson Tour last season, including two top 10 finishes. She tied for ninth at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship on July 29 and tied for fourth at the Four Winds Invitational on Aug. 12.
“I felt like I came close a few times last year,” said Costabile. “I think I lost by one at one tournament, one shot out of a playoff, so that was really close.
“I did feel like my game was really close on the final day, I just needed to put together a good score on the final day at a few events and wasn’t really able to capitalize on that.”
PGA TOUR — Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., is the top-ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour, 11th overall in the FedEx Cup standings. He’ll lead the Canadian contingent into this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., is in Svensson’s group on Thursday. Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont.., Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., and Adam Hadwin, from Abbotsford, are also in the field.
CHAMPIONS TOUR — Calgary’s Stephen Ames dropped to second in the Schwab Cup rankings on Monday but can reclaim the top spot at this week’s Cologuard Classic at Omni Tucson National in Tucson, Ariz. Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., and David Morland IV, who’s originally from Aurora, Ont., will also tee it up when the tournament begins on Friday.