Henrickson readily admitted then his win should have been easier, but maybe it was best it wasn't because it made him show he could hold together mentally.
"That got it started for sure," said Hendrickson after Thursday's win. "That is what made it. If I had run away with it, I would not have been ready for this situation. That was huge. I did not play well honestly the second day at the Butler, but being in a closebattle really helped me in the Amateur and again today when I had a one-shot lead going to No. 18."
Hendrickson made a clutch par-3 on the final hole to secure a one-shot win over Grover Justice.
Could he have held on like that if he had blown the Butler two months ago?
"If I had lost the Butler, it could have meant a complete opposte summer for me. I am playing good golf, but just getting a win under my belt in the Butler is what got it going for me," Hendrickson said.
Remember Hendrickson had his first chance to showcase his ability on a big stage two years ago when he shared the lead at the Kentucky Open with 12 holes left and dropped to 19th when he went 6-over par on those last six holes.
But those days are gone.
At the State Amateur Championship, he birdied the 15th and 16th holes in the final round to secure a three-stroke win. He finished the tournament at 2-under par, the only golfer in the 156-player field below par.
At the United States Amateur Championship qualifying in Cincinnati last month, he had two even par rounds of 70 to qualify for the national competition on Aug. 20-26 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
"Mentally, there is a fine line between winning and being five, six or seven shots behind," Hendrickson said. "It's knowing when to make a smart choice in a certain situation instead of going for a pin. You learn the value of hitting shots in the right places and staying calm.
"I will never forget the Open two years ago. I made a 6 at a par-3 and blew up. Today I was 4-over (par) after nine holes, but I had 34 on the back nine. Two years ago I could not have stayed in contention."
"He has it all"
Instead, he's playing so well that Old Bridge Golf Club pro Bruce Brown, Hendrickson's teacher, not only predicted he would win the Kentucky Open, but that one day he'll also be playing on the PGA Tour.
"This kid is going to be special. He has it all," Brown said.
Could be. However, with six holes to play in the Butler, Hendrickson was hoping just to win that tournament. He could not have envisioned winning the State Amateur Championship and Kentucky Open as well as qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.
"All this is just kind of overwhelming. It really gives me a lot of confidence and an opportunity to think about my future what I can do to play this game for a living," Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson isn't foolish enough to predict how he'll do against the country's best players at the U.S. Amateur. He does know the course can't be set up any more difficult than Hurstbourne Country Club, which had five-inch rough, slick greens and almost unbearable heat.
He'll face two days of qualifying there and if he is one of the top 64 players, he'll qualify for match play.
"Anything can happen if you make it to match play," he said. "I am confident. I am hitting good shots. I feel really good about going out there."
After what he's done since finishing his Butler win, that's exactly how he should feel because he's had a remarkable summer no matter what happens in California.