Connect with us
Advertisement

Tour News

Henley makes a big splash at the Sony

Published

on

“It’s all about getting the ‘W.'”

It’s a favorite phrase of Tiger Woods that reigns true on the PGA Tour, because it doesn’t matter how a golfer wins a tournament. A win is a win, whether it’s by 1 or 100 shots.

For PGA Tour rookies, a win is more than a win. It gives them a two-year exemption to play on the big stage, and can cement a player in the Tour’s top-tier tournaments, as well as in the major championships they dreamed about competing in as a junior golfer. That’s what made rookie Russell Henley’s record-setting performance at the Sony Open so impressive. The 23-year-old didn’t just win — he dominated.

Henley entered Sunday’s final round tied with fellow 23-year-old and 2010 Palmer Cup teammate Scott Langley at 17-under. But Henley started with a birdie on the first hole at Waialae Country Club, while Langley made a bogey on the same hole, giving Henley an early three-shot lead. The separation between the two rookies remained relatively consistent through the front nine, as the players made the turn with two shots between them.

New threats were emerging, however, as veterans Charles Howell III, Tim Clark and Pat Perez moved to within three shots of the lead. But Henley is no ordinary rookie. In 2011, he became only the second amateur in history to win a Web.com Tour event, recorded one of the best finishes in the U.S. Open by an amateur in recent years (T-16) and tied Georgia’s school record for all-time victories with seven during his time as a Bulldog.

On the 10th hole, he cooly poured in a birdie putt, casually walked over to his golf bag and began snacking on an apple. No signs of nerves for the first-timer there. He maintained an even keel over the next several holes, and then made a 40-foot birdie on No. 14 to widen his lead to three shots over Tim Clark with four holes to play. Langley couldn’t keep pace, falling further behind down the stretch and finishing with an even-par 70 for a T-3 with Howell.

Another beautifully stroked birdie putt on No. 15 increased Henley’s lead to four. And with only three holes to play, it was really only a matter of whether he would be able to hold on. Henley answered any questions about the onset of nerves down the stretch, calmly rolling in another birdie on the No. 16 after a well-placed approach shot from 155 yards.

If this weren’t indication enough of how the three-time Web.com winner intended to close the tournament, he took dead aim and hammered a draw to within 17 feet on No. 17, a par 3, to set up another good look at birdie. Almost predictably, Henley rolled the putt home while Tim Clark looked on with a half-smile, knowing that although he had paced Henley for the day at 6-under, the three-shot gap between the two to start play was proving insurmountable.

On the final hole, betraying none of the overwhelming emotions that surely accompany standing on the precipice of one’s first PGA Tour win, Henley calmly got up and down on the closing par 5 for five straight birdies and a final-round record 63.

“That’s the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Henley said after the round. “I couldn’t feel my legs or my arms. They were just numb and just moving fast and I felt like I couldn’t control them. But I’ve been in that situation before, just not quite as dramatic.”

Henley’s final score of 24-under 256 gave him the lowest total score in tournament history at the Sony Open, as well as the lowest total score for any rookie in Tour history. With the win, he earned $990,000, and moved to a tie for first in the FedExCup points list with Hyundai Tournament of Champions winner Dustin Johnson. The win not only gets him into next week’s field at the Humana Classic, Henley will be teeing it up for the first time this season in April at the Masters.

If he thought he was nervous Sunday afternoon in Hawaii, imagine how nervous he’ll be in a few months at Augusta. But as Henley proved on Sunday, that might not be a bad thing.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday at the Fort Worth Invitational

Published

on

GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

In addition to a gallery of photos from Misery Hill, we have WITB looks at Chad Campbell, Sung Kang, and Si-Woo Kim’s golf bags.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Welcome to the silver side, Maverick McNealy.

Only appropriate for their to be Hogans at Colonial. J.J. Henry does the honors.

Colonial stalwart Keith Clearwater with an Acculock Ace putter in the bag.

Si-Woo Kim’s driver has an “under construction” aesthetic. Love it.

Abraham Ancer may have the only grafitti-inspired bag font on Tour.

Tidy stuff.

Sung Kang: Going dual drivers this week or testing Tensei Orange vs. Tensei White?

A.B.C. How about this new Odyssey putter cover?

Chad Campbell is still rocking the TaylorMade Burner TP 5-wood!

…and Adams Idea Black irons with a strip of lead tape. Swoon.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Monday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

 

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB1
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Popular Photo Galleries

Monday’s Photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial

Published

on

GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Monday’s Photos

Special Galleries

 

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

Your Reaction?
  • 8
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Tour News

Tour Rundown: Aaron Wise and Miguel Angel Jimenez both win their first

Published

on

Forget the Vegas Golden Knights for a moment. Golf, friends, is what is on the rise. Play a knockout event in Europe, toss in a rollicking, fun, unpredictable course in Texas, and spice it up with the most interesting man in golf (nope, never gets old) and the third weekend of May was nifty. A simple Tour Walkdown wouldn’t be nearly enough; we need a full-on, high-speed Rundown. Lace up your kicks and Zoom.

Aaron Wise collects first PGA Tour Win at Byron Nelson

People will say that the hardest thing to do is hold a lead. Marc Leishman opened with a saucy 61, and he nearly kept the reigns all week. In the end, Aaron Wise was too much duck for Leish, and finished on -23 to capture his first PGA Tour title, by three shots. Wise made 4 bogeys on the week, and 3 of them came on Saturday. His third-round 68 still made up ground on the Aussie leader, who closed 69-68 on the weekend. Wise was not flawless from tee to green on Sunday, but he avoided the hiccoughs that found him on Saturday. His scramble game was strong, and bogey stayed away. As for Leishman, after a bogey at the short 2nd, he drove the green at 4 and converted the bendy eagle putt. Two more birdies on the outward nine kept him close to Wise. On the inward half, which Wise played 1-under, Leishman had a shot. Two bogeys staved off his challenge, and Wise was a winner. Brandon Grace had a lightning round of his own on day 4, closing with 62 for a third-place tie with JJ Spaun and Keith Mitchell.

Aaron Wise Winning WITB

Adrian Otaegui knocks field out in Belgium

According to some Twitter post, Adrian Otaegui is undefeated in European Tour match play competition. Twelve consecutive wins. Future Ryder Cup captains, are we aware? Something about those Spaniards, those Basques, and their ability to get things done in head-to-head competition. Otaegui survived two tough matches in the rounds of 32 (w/Max Kiefer) and 16 (w/Matthew Southgate) where he squeaked by with a 1-stroke margin of victory. From that point on, it was clear sailing for the Iberian. Along the way, he defeated countryman Jorge Campillo in the quarters, Scotland’s David Drysdale in the semis, and France’s Benjamin Hebert in the final match. The beat-a-countryman, beat-a-Brit was common with Hebert as well. He knocked off Mike Lorenzo-Vera in the quarters, followed by James Heath in the semis, to arrange his final dance with Otaegui.

Jutanugarn is LPGA Queen once more in Virginia

While Sunday’s attention was divided between Brooke Henderson’s charge and the leading trio’s fight for supremacy, Ariya Jutanugarn had been in this position too many times to care. The long-hitting Thai golfer might have put things away with a birdie at the 16th; instead, she bogeyed and fell into a playoff with In Gee Chun of Korea and Nasa Hataoka of Japan. On the first extra green, Japan and Thailand made birdie, bidding farewell to Korea. On the 2nd playoff hole, Jutanugarn again made birdie to clinch the 8th LPGA title of her young career. As for Henderson, one wouldn’t think that a first-round 70 would put you that deep in the hole, but it did. Despite 65-65 on the weekend, Henderson was 1 agonizing putt or chip or whatever on the outside, looking in.

Michael Arnaud (after a magical nine holes) wins the Web Week in South Carolina

Arnaud posted 188 strokes to the board over his final 54 holes. Heck, do that and you can shoot your weight and still win. Arnaud’s found-magnificence was beyond impressive. His second-round 60 included a front-nine 27 that began with five birdies and two eagles…CONSECUTIVELY from holes 1 to 7. Dude was on track to shoot 26 or some nonsense until he bogeyed the 9th. Birdie there would have given him 25 for the outward half. Pity KH Lee and Robbie Shelton, who would have had a heck of a playoff on any other Sunday. The pair finished at -22, five strokes behind Arnaud. Question is, will Arnaud continue to excel, or will he remember one May weekend as the time he caught lightning in a bottle? In either case, the magic was his for a time.

Jimenez FINALLY grabs a senior major at Tradition

I would have bet MI CASA that MAJ had won a senior major title before his triumph at Greystone in Birmingham. It’s a big month for the steel city, as the USGA Women’s Open will be at Shoal Creek at the end of May. Back to the most interesting man. Jimenez built a comfortable lead (4 strokes) after 3 rounds. He opened with a magnificent 64, and no one could match it (and truly close the gap) until Jeff Maggert on Sunday. It was Jimenez’ tournament, as he displayed a remarkable command of all weapons. He did not make multiple bogeys until Sunday, at which point he had assumed complete control. As for the chasers, Joe Durant, Gene Sauers and Steve Stricker were able to claim a share of the runner-up podium spot, finishing at -16, 3 back of the victor. As with the remainder of the field, none could match Jimenez’ slew of birdies, which more than offset his slight number of bogeys.

Your Reaction?
  • 8
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending