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The road to redemption ends with Henson winning at her final Tennessee Girls’ Junior

Claire_Henson_and_familyOLD HICKORY, Tenn. — The morning of the final round, Henderson’s Claire Henson found herself in a familiar spot. Sitting two strokes behind Germantown’s Sophie Christopher, Henson was determined to have a different outcome than in 2022, where a double-bogey on the 18th hole resulted in her finishing runner-up. 

After sitting out due to injury in 2023, Henson arrived at Hermitage Golf Course with one thing on her mind: hoisting the Ruth Eller Trophy in her final year of junior golf. She had her work cut out for her, however, needing to overcome a two-stroke deficit in the final 18 holes.

The soon-to-be Vanderbilt Commodore came out firing on all cylinders, and carded a 4-under 32 on the front nine, with 5 birdies along the way. University of Tennessee-Knoxville signee Christopher had a clean 1-under 34 on the front, but still sat one stroke behind the new leader, Claire Henson.

On hole 10, Christopher carded a birdie while Henson recorded a bogey, leading to ta two-shot swing to give Christopher back the lead. She wouldn’t lead for long, as Henson, determined to not repeat history, came charging back. After a great drive in the middle of the fairway on the par 4 12th hole, Henson holed out for an eagle from 65 yards to reclaim the lead by one stroke at 10-under-par. 

Another birdie on the par 3 17th hole, and Henson claimed a two-stroke lead, enough to secure her place in Tennessee Golf History as champion of the 76th Tennessee Girls’ Junior Championship. Henson’s win was a tale of resilience and redemption. 

“It really means a lot to be here now,” Henson said. “It kind of gives you that self-worth in a way, just knowing that I did come through that and I am here now.”

The 2022 Tennessee Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion, Sophie Christopher, had a good showing at Hermitage Golf Course. The future Volunteer finished runner-up with a score of 9-under-par 207. 

Thesoon-to-be Kentucky Wildcatand last year’s Tennessee Girls’ Junior Champion, Karlie Campbell carded her first career hole-in-one en route to a final round 67, 5-under-par. That final round was enough to move her up the leaderboard and round out the podium with a third-place finish at 8-under 208. 

Isabella Johnson, another University of Tennessee commit, had a stellar showing of consistent golf. Johnson was the only player in the field to finish all three rounds under par, finishing with a 6-under-par 210 (69-70-71). 

Sophia Gambini rounded out the top 5, coming in at 1-over-par 217. A smooth final round that included 5 birdies helped her climb the leaderboard to finish in solo 5th place. 

For the full event results and final leaderboard, click here