Local amateur Ronda Henderson was very calm when she stepped up to the first tee of Pine Needles Lodge Golf Club in North Carolina on Monday prior to this week’s United States Senior Women’s Open.
It was only a practice round, but the magnitude of the moment was still awe-inspiring.
“It was kind of surprising, but I had no nerves and I striped my drive down the center and off we went,” said Henderson, the president of the Nevada State Women’s Golf Association. “I played with Hollis Stacy (a four-time LPGA Tour major champion) and she couldn’t have been nicer. I think the way she welcomed me really put me at ease.
“I also played with Martha Leach, last year’s low amateur, and Linda Bowman Segre, another amateur. Because of the grouping, I think it was a little less intimidating.”
Henderson earned a spot in the USGA senior major by shooting a 79 in a qualifier at Briarwood Country Club in Arizona in April. Until this week, the most meaningful tournament Henderson had played in was the 2015 USGA 4-ball with fellow Las Vegas amateur Janet Weber.
On Thursday, Henderson is scheduled to tee off at 10:57 a.m. with Lorie Wilkes and Missie McGeorge in one of the highest profile tournaments and sternest tests in women’s golf.
“The course is in top condition, but there is no rough, only pine needles in the waste areas,” Henderson said. “It’s a traditional Donald Ross design so the greens are elevated and I don’t have a lot of experience playing those types of greens. My goal is to make the cut, but overall I will be focusing on accepting what comes my way and not projecting.”
Henderson didn’t take up golf until she was 19 and then didn’t play for about a decade in her thirties and forties before taking it up again about eight years ago with future husband Richard Hanseen. She now works on her game with Reflection Bay swing coach Craig Barlow and is living out a stunning golf dream.
“There are only 120 players this week. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s an honor just to be here and I really mean it,” Henderson said.
Scott Piercy finished the 72 holes of last week’s ATT Byron Nelson without a bogey and in second place. It’s the first time since 2010 that a player went all 72 holes of a tournament without a bogey. Piercy has nine top 25 finishes on the season and is 17th in the FedEx Cup Playoffs standings.
Sign up for the Las Vegas Paiute e-club to receive reduced rates and monthly specials.
Country club stars
Bob Glasgow and Curtis Brown won the Las Vegas Country Club men’s member-guest. Trey Arfuso aced the third hole during the tournament.
Stars on, off course
Vegas Golden Knights players Ryan Reaves and Deryk Engelland hit at Topgolf Las Vegas, sipping beers by Reaves’ 7Five Brewing inside the Woodard Lounge.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @LVGolfInsider.
Upcoming area Events
Sunday-Tuesday: Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, Topgolf, So. Highlands, Shadow Creek
May 21, 22: Women’s SNGA Senior Amateur, Las Vegas National
May 23: SNGA Tour (state am qualifier), Chimera
May 24, 25: Tiger Jam, Shadow Creek, MGM, Topgolf
May 27-31: Mesquite Amateur, several Mesquite courses
June 3: NV Energy United Way tournament, Red Rock – Mountain
June 3: SNGA Social Series, DragonRidge
June 3: AJGA Junior/Am, Reflection Bay
June 3: Discovery Children’s Museum Classic, Red Rock
June 3: Golf United benefiting United Way, Red Rock Country Club
June 4-6: AJGA Lake Las Vegas Jr. hosted by Danielle Kang, Reflection Bay
June 8, 9: SNGA Reflection Bay Amateur, Reflection Bay
June 9: SNGA Parent-Child tournament, Las Vegas National
June 11, 12: WSNGA Southern Nevada Am/Silver Cup qualifier, Boulder Creek
June 12: HELP of So. Nevada Round Up, Cascata
June 13: Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, Las Vegas National
PGA of America
What: PGA Championship.
Where: Farmingdale, New York; Bethpage State Park (Black Course) (7,459 yards, par 70).
When: Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (TNT); Saturday and Sunday, 8-11 a.m. (TNT), 11 a.m. -4 p.m. (KLAS-8)
Purse: TBA ($11 million in 2018).
Defending champion: Brooks Koepka.
What: Knoxville Open.
Where: Knoxville, Tennessee; Fox Den CC (7,088 yards, par 71).
Purse: $550,000. Winner’s share: $99,000.
Defending champion: Stephan Jaeger.
United States Golf Association
What: U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
Where: Southern Pines, North Carolina; Pine Needles Lodge & GC. (6,016 yards, par 71).
When: Saturday-Sunday, Noon-2 p.m. (FS1).
Purse: $1 million.
Defending champion: Laura Davies.
— By The Associated Press