Brooke Henderson placed second in the ShopRite LPGA Classic last year after closing with a 7-under 64.
This year, the 24-year-old Canadian matched her final-round performance from last year, and she still had work to do. She won this time after rallying from a four-shot deficit on Sunday.
Henderson won her 11th tour title and first this year after eagleing the opening playoff hole to defeat Lindsey Weaver-Wright.
“I just was trying to go low and see what happens,” Henderson said. “I didn’t think — I mean, I thought the victory was a possibility, but there are a lot of really talented players ahead of me and I think I was 4 shots back starting the day.
“I knew it was going to take a little bit of magic, and I’m just really happy that I’m sitting here next to the trophy.”
Her second shot in the playoff on the par-5 No. 18 at the Seaview Hotel and Golf Club was quite magical. She made a 10-foot putt from 193 yards with a 7-wood. She’d made an eagle at No. 9 earlier in the day with the same club.
Weaver-Wright, a 28-year-old American still searching for her first PGA Tour victory, forced a playoff with birdies on four of the final six holes, including a long one at No. 17 and a 10-footer at the par-5 final hole for a 65.
In the playoff, Weaver-Wright hit the fairway, but her second shot fell short of the green. Her third shot landed around the same distance from the hole as Henderson’s, but she was already out of the game. Henderson, who is rated No. 11 in the world, was under no pressure to make the eagle to win and receive $262,500.
“I’ve always loved a victory and never tried to take them for granted, but with the pandemic in 2020, I only played 10 events, and I think I had six top-10s but no victory,” Henderson said. “So that was a little bit of a — it shook the confidence a little bit.”
Henderson, who finished second in the first event of the year, appears to be in good condition.
Weaver-Wright was pleased by her performance this week, despite her disappointment.
“It’s everything, especially because I haven’t been playing that great this year,” she said. “I mean, solo second, my best finish ever on the LPGA. It’s my fifth year out here. Like it’s a huge milestone for me. I’m just excited for the summer now.”
With a short birdie at No. 12, Henderson, who last won in Los Angeles in 2021, jumped into the lead. She held her position until Weaver-Wright birdied the 17th hole.
Henderson, who was in the group ahead of her, reached the par-5 18th hole in two and delayed her eagle putt to tap-in birdie range.
Despite missing the fairway, Weaver-Wright matched the birdie with a 10-footer.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England recorded an eagle on the 18th hole to finish at 11 under par, one stroke behind the leaders. She had a score of 67.
“I feel like I managed my emotions out there being in contention, and just a really good experience going into the rest of the season,” said the 34-year-old, who has never won on the tour.
Brittany Lincicome, who is expecting her second child in September, finished in a tie for sixth place with Marina Alex of New Jersey and Nasa Hataoka of California, who both previously won in California. Hataoka started with four birdies on the first five holes to take a two-shot lead. Lincicome and Alex had 67s, a stroke better than Hataoka.
“Finishing third being seven months pregnant, just being out here competing, being in contention, means the world,” said the 36-year-old Lincicome, who has not won since 2018. “It’s cool to be in here talking to you guys again. I haven’t done that in a while.”
Celine Boutier, the defending champion, shot a 63 to finish in a group at 8 under par.
Frida Kinhult of Sweden led Lauren Coughlin of the United States by one stroke heading into the final round. Coughlin shot a 72 to finish at 7 under par, while Kinhult shot a 75 to finish at 5 under par.
Overnight rain soaked the course near Atlantic City, making the greens extremely receptive and aiding scoring.