As the KPMG Women's PGA Championship returns to Sahalee Country Club, so does the previous winner at this venue Brooke Henderson. Here she reflects on her win in 2016 and the week ahead

Brooke Henderson's return to Sahalee Country Club is a homecoming rich with nostalgia and promise. The Canadian golfer is back at the site of her first Major victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, a win that has left an indelible mark on her career and heart. On Wednesday, she reflected on her past triumphs and looked ahead to the challenges this week.

When the 26-year-old recalls her win at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016, her memories are vivid. "Honestly, everything just went so perfectly that week," Henderson reminisces. "I felt like it was meant to be, especially that Sunday round on the back nine shooting 4-under, the eagle on 11, and the clutch par save on 18; everything was falling my way. It’s definitely an extremely special week that I'll remember forever."

Strategising for success

Returning to a course known for its intimidating, narrow fairways, Henderson acknowledges the unique challenges Sahalee presents. "I love the huge towering trees and the tight fairways. It’s almost majestic. Feels very peaceful and amazing, but at the same time a little bit stressful because you have to hit it so straight," she explains.

Her strategy will focus on precision and patience, aiming to hit fairways and capitalise on birdie opportunities while making those crucial par saves. Recalling the tough playing conditions in 2016, Henderson remains realistic yet optimistic, ready to tackle what the course will throw at her.

An Honorary Member and a lasting legacy

Henderson’s bond with Sahalee was cemented on Tuesday by her being named an honorary member of the club. This honour is not just a title but a recognition of her achievements and connection to the course. "To come back here and to be given honorary membership, and to have a plaque on the 18th hole with my name on it forever, is extremely special and meaningful," she shares. The plaque stands as a permanent reminder of her breakthrough victory at just 18 years old.

As Henderson walked the course during her pro-am, emotions ran high. "Every hole just kind of brought a smile to my face. It did bring up a lot of emotion and almost like chills," she admits. The familiarity of the fairways and greens stirred memories of her exceptional play and the euphoria of victory. "Just great memories, and I think this place for everyone just kind of brings some peace because it’s so beautiful. I’m hoping to lean into that and just enjoy the week."

A life-changing victory

Winning her first Major at a young age was indeed life-changing for Henderson. "It definitely changed my life back in 2016. I received a lot more attention from the fans and the media, and just what I believed I could do moving forward," she acknowledges. That victory instilled in her a belief that anything was possible, propelling her to further successes and shaping her career.

From 2016 to 2024, Henderson's journey as a golfer has been marked by growth and success. "A lot is very similar: same coach, same caddie, same person, I guess. But at the same time, a lot of things have changed. I’ve grown up a lot. I have more victories out on tour now," she reflects. Her career has been a series of ups and downs, but her ability to navigate the lows and celebrate the highs speaks to her resilience and determination. Henderson’s self-evaluation reveals a mature competitor who is both proud of her past and eager for future achievements.

The challenge of Sahalee

Sahalee remains a formidable course, even for seasoned players like Henderson. "This is a tough course. You can see it from the scores back in 2016. Not a lot of people under par. It was a struggle to make birdies and save pars on certain holes," she notes. Despite the challenges, the course’s pristine condition and beauty offer a perfect backdrop for competition. Henderson’s familiarity with the course, coupled with her strategic approach, positions her well to face the week ahead.

The 70th KPMG Women's PGA Championship gets underway today, Thursday June 20. View the full leaderboard here.

Inspired by the third women's Major of the season? Why not come and watch the best players in the world at the AIG Women's Open this summer at St Andrews. Ticket prices start from £20.