Sunday, January 13, 2013

Russell Henley wins 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii

Entering the Sony Open at Hawaii, Russell Henley had competed in 3 total PGA Tour events.  He won a Tour event as an amateur in 2011 and two tournaments last season on the Tour.  He was a Walker Cup competitor and had an excellent amateur career.  Now, Henley can check PGA Tour Champion off his to-do list.

Henley entered the final round after setting 36-and 54-hole scoring records at the Sony Open.  His 63s on Thursday and Friday gave him a two-stroke lead over fellow PGA Tour rookie Scott Langley.  A 67 on Saturday had him tied with his friend Langley entering Sunday's final round in Honolulu.  Langley and Henley were grouped with Tim Clark who entered Sunday three shots behind the two rookies.

Henley started fast with a birdie on hole 1 while Langley fell back with a bogey out of the gates.  Solid play for Clark and Henley helped them separate a bit from the rest of the field including Langley, who struggled on Sunday to an even-par 70 and a tie for third place.  Clark and Henley traded birdies on holes 15, 16, 17, and 18, with Henley also birdieing the 14th for five straight birdies to win by three strokes.  His 36 hole total of 256 is the second-lowest total in a 72-hole tournament.  Both Henley and Clark shot 63s in the final round.

Henley's win gives him the coveted 2-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations into this season's Players Championship, the PGA Championship, and the Masters.  Henley grew up in Georgia, so the Masters has always had a close place in his heart.

Charles Howell III carded a 4-under par 66 to tie Langley for third place.  Matt Kuchar, Brian Stuard, and Chris Kirk tied for fifth place.  Rounding out the top-ten were Jeff Overton in solo-eighth position and Harris English, Marc Leishman, Dicky Pride and Pat Perez in a tie for ninth.

Coming up next week on the PGA Tour is the Humana Challenge in partnership with The Clinton Foundation.

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