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Canada’s Brooke Henderson aims for major title defence at Evian Championship

No one has gained the Evian Championship in back-to-back years since it became a major, but Canada’s Brooke Henderson is in a position to do just that this week.

Henderson defeated Sophia Schubert of the United States by a stroke to win the Evian last year for the second major title of her career.

Although women’s golfing greats like Helen Alfredsson, Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam and Ai Miyazato have won the Evian multiple times, none of them won it after 2013 when the LPGA Tour named it a major.

“I love the opportunity to try to defend my title,” said Henderson at a news conference on Wednesday. “Holding the trophy yesterday when I had to give it back was very sad but, at the same time, it was very emotional.

“It was really cool for me to see my name engraved on the trophy and join a long list of past champions with an incredible history. It’s really cool for me to be a part of that.”

Only Davies collected the Evian Championship in consecutive years, winning what was then a Ladies European Tour event in 1995 and 1996, more than a decade before it was elevated to major status. Alfredsson (1994, 1998, 2008), Sorenstam (2000, 2002), and Miyazato (2009, 2011) all won their titles with at least a year between them.

“That’s really exciting to have the opportunity to be the first one back-to-back,” said Henderson, who stated it was her goal this week at Evian Resort Golf Club in Evian-les-Bains, France. “But there’s so many talented players here this week, the best in the world, and just have the opportunity to do well and compete against them every week is really cool.

“Hopefully I just start out Thursday and Friday with some solid rounds, and see if I can put myself in contention to try to do it again.”

Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., is the other Canadian in the field at the Evian.

Henderson is 17th on the LPGA Tour’s points list and Szeryk is 84th.

Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., has the most career victories of any Canadian professional golfer with 13. Her most recent was the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on Jan. 22, the first event on the LPGA Tour schedule.

It’s an annual goal of Henderson’s to win at least twice every season — one of the reasons why she’s the most successful golfer in Canadian history — and with seven months since her last victory, she’s ready to complete this season’s set.

“It’s been a goal of mine since I’ve been on Tour to win twice a year,” said Henderson, who has won a pair of tournaments in five of her nine seasons since turning pro in December 2014. “I’ve done it most years, not all years.

“It was really great to start out the year with a win my first time out this season and then it’s been a little bit up and down since, but I’m looking forward to a lot of great events coming up, especially this week.”

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