Ronda Henderson is very well known in Southern Nevada amateur golf circles of the Southern Nevada Golf Association, Women’s Southern Nevada Golf Association and Nevada State Women’s Golf Association, but now she is making some buzz on the national scene. Henderson qualified for the U.S. Women’s Senior Open and is one of only 120 women in the prestigious tournament.
The tournament is at Pine Needles Lodge Golf Club in North Carolina and despite the grand stage, Henderson is taking it in stride, even feeling relaxed despite a huge week and challenging conditions and surroundings.
“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 about her opening tee shot during her first practice round. “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.
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In photo: (l to r): Linda Bowman Segre, Hollis Stacey, Martha Leach, Ronda Henderson
Henderson missed the cut with rounds of 83 and 82 during the difficult championship. But she did finish ahead accomplished LPGA Tour players as Joanne Carner and Pat Shriver, among others plus some other top national senior amateurs. She tied with Martha Leach, the 2018 U. S. Senior Women’s Open low amateur.
“There were only 120 players that week and I know it sounds cliche, but it was an honor just to be there and I really mean it,” Henderson said. “The first thing that comes to mind is how thankful all of the players are that the USGA has added this event. Some think they added it too late, but we all are thankful we 50 and over players have a stage like this on which to perform.”