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JOHNS CREEK, Georgia – Brooke Henderson still has veteran caddie Everette Nini with her at the KPMG Women’s PGA, but there’s a chance big sister Brittany will be back on the bag this week at Atlanta Athletic Club.
“Maybe,” said Brooke. “It’s just kind of at the point where we’re just waiting, and hopefully things go the right direction soon.”
Canada’s Henderson played for the first time since February 2016 without Brittany on the bag at last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic and missed the cut with rounds of 75-67. Brittany’s work visa expired on June 15.
Last September, the former Symetra Tour player married Zach Sepanik, who hails from Grand Rapids and works for the LPGA’s communications team, and applied for new immigration status. The couple bought a house in Naples, Florida, after they wed and have been working with Senator Marco Rubio’s office to expedite the paperwork.
Brooke, a two-time winner of the Meijer (2017 and 2019), said the biggest change with having someone else on the bag was a dip in her confidence.
“We’ve worked together for five years, and she just knows me so well, so things are very easy,” said Brooke. “Everett was great. He did a great job. I didn’t play that well, but he was right there for me and helped me out a lot.
“I think just explaining what I wanted to happen and speaking my mind, where normally Brit kind of knows what I’m thinking already, so that was probably the biggest challenge. Somewhere down the road when I do have another caddie, I just have to remember to speak clearly and really explain what I’m trying to do.”
Brooke Henderson hits her tee shot on the 11th hole during round two of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club on June 18, 2021 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Henderson, 23, ended a victory drought that dated back to June 2019 in dramatic fashion at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open. She raved about the condition of Atlanta Athletic Club and said the two nines on the Highlands Course play quite differently. She hopes it continues to play long as the week goes on.
“Just on the front nine, lots of times the bunkers are up the right-hand side,” said Henderson, “and as long as you’re left of them, you’re good, and then on the back nine, there’s bunkers on both sides, and you kind of have to hit a little bit straighter in between them.”
A 10-time winner on the LPGA, Henderson’s lone major victory came at the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA at Sahalee.
After falling ill with a cold at the Mediheal and then competing without her sister by her side in Michigan, Brooke flew home to Florida for the weekend for a couple days on her own to rest, regroup and practice.
“I feel like I’m in a much better place,” she said.