PORTLAND, Ore. — Canada's Brooke Henderson withdrew from the LPGA Tour's Cambia Portland Classic on Monday due to poor air quality.
Henderson told The Canadian Press that she was withdrawing shortly after the LPGA shut down the course and practice facilities. A dense smoke advisory was in effect until 6 p.m. local time in the city of Portland, Ore., due to wildfires raging through California, Oregon, and Washington.
"I felt it was unsafe to go and play in Portland this week with the air quality and the close proximity of the fires," said Henderson.
Henderson tied for second at the ANA Inspiration on Sunday after an exciting playoff against Nelly Korda and eventual winner Mirim Lee in Rancho Mirage, Calif. It was her third tournament after the LPGA's restart and the second major of the tour's condensed season.
The product of Smiths Falls, Ont., was looking forward to playing at Columbia Edgewater Country Club this week as she has won two of her nine LPGA titles at the Portland Classic.
"I feel like my game's in a really good spot coming off the weekend and Portland's always been a special place to me," said Henderson, who won in 2015 and 2016. "I'm usually in contention at some point during the week, even in the years I don't win.
"It was definitely a tough decision but I feel like it was the right one, given the circumstances."
Henderson, whose nine LPGA titles are the most professional golf wins for a Canadian of any gender, intends to fly back to her home in Florida before playing in the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway, N.J., Oct. 1-4.
The 23-year-old skipped the Australian leg of the season early in 2020 and then the LPGA Tour cancelled its swing through Asia as the COVID-19 pandemic spread from Wuhan, China.
Play on tour resumed with the inaugural Drive On Championship in Toledo, Ohio, on July 31 but Henderson decided to sit out until the Women's British Open on Aug. 20 at Royal Troon Old Course in Scotland, where she missed the cut.
She then tied for 49th at the NW Arkansas Championship on Aug. 30 before her strong finish at the ANA Inspiration.
"In terms of COVID, I feel like the LPGA's done a great job and we feel safe," said Henderson. "It's just unfortunate because the entire west coast is burning up. Air quality is not good and it's very scary for all the residents here."
— By John Chidley-Hill in Toronto.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2020.
The Canadian Press