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Rio 2016: Golfer Brooke Henderson thinks she can take home Olympic gold

Click to play video: '18-year-old Canadian golf star Brooke Henderson looking for gold in Rio' 18-year-old Canadian golf star Brooke Henderson looking for gold in Rio
WATCH ABOVE: 18-year-old Canadian golf star Brooke Henderson is on her way to Rio. She's going for gold in golfing, which is back in the Olympics this year after more than 100 years away. Mike LeCouteur reports – Aug 7, 2016

Golfer Brooke Henderson, at just 18 years old, is considered one of Canada’s best chances for a gold medal in Rio.

The golfing phenom from Smiths Falls, Ontario – a small town outside Ottawa – was sent off to the Olympics in style on Friday by members of the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.

“I’m super excited to go down to Rio,” she told Global News. “I’m definitely a medal hopeful for Canada which is extremely exciting. It’s a very proud moment for me.”

Golf is in the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years. And the last time it was an Olympic event, in 1904, a Canadian took home the gold – something that Henderson has been keeping in mind.

“I know my game is right there and all it takes is four solid rounds of golf and hopefully I’ll be standing on that podium come Sunday.”

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Her father, Dave Henderson, is confident too. “Brooke can win the gold in Rio, there’s no doubt about that. Her competitors know that,” he said.

“She’s a good ball striker and the same thing we say every week, if she makes putts and gets off to a good start, she’ll be very tough to beat.”

Zika concerns

Fear of the Zika virus has kept many of the world’s top golfers out of the Olympics – at least on the men’s side. Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Shane Lowry have all decided to stay home.

It’s a concern for Brooke too. “You know it’s a very large health concern and there are a lot of other things going down in Rio right now as well,” she said. “But we just tried to take as much information as we could and make the best decision. And the best decision is to go down and compete and we’re not going to tour around too much. We’re just going to stay in the Olympic village and try and stay safe.”

Her father says their guard remains high as they head to Rio.

“We’ve taken precautions. They promised us down there they would fumigate and do the things they need to do. The girls are going to go long-sleeved and things of that sort. But there’s political unrest, there’s the threat of terrorism,” he said.

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“The girls have to weigh that out. We talked about it. They think it’s worth at least venturing down there.”

Dave Henderson even hinted that depending on what Brooke sees the first time she walks the golf course, she may still decide not to compete.

“I’m not saying Brooke’s pulling out, but if she went down there I know the Canadian people would understand that it’s far too dangerous. But she is going to go and she is going to walk the golf course and she’s going to get a feel for whether there are mosquitos around and other threats, even getting in or getting out of Rio. We’ll see how it goes.”

WATCH: Golfer Brooke Henderson talks with Global National’s Mike Le Couteur about her upcoming trip to the Rio Olympics, where she thinks she could take home the gold. 
Click to play video: 'Brooke Henderson thinks she could win gold in Rio' Brooke Henderson thinks she could win gold in Rio
Brooke Henderson thinks she could win gold in Rio – Aug 5, 2016

With files from Mike Le Couteur

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