“I don’t really know what just happened,” Henley said. “This is the most nervous I’ve ever been and that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m kind of speechless right now.” That about wraps it up for 23 year old Russell Henley, who had a magical weekend in the PGA Tours first full field event of the season, the Sony Open at Waialae Golf Course in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Making his first start as an official member of the PGA Tour, Henley took the course and field by storm over the weekend. After opening with his first of three seven under 63’s, Henley found himself one shot behind fellow tour rookie Scott Langley, who shot a lights out 62 on the opening day. Setting out to prove his opening round 63 wasn’t a fluke, Henley poured in birdie after birdie on Friday, shooting his second consecutive 63. Henley carried a two stroke lead over Langley, who shot 66 on Friday, into the weekend.
Langley and Henley could become very familiar with each others games over the course of the week, being paired in the same threesome each day. With his consecutive 63’s to open the tournament, Henley broke his first record of the weekend, the lowest 36 hole total score of 126, beating the record held by five men of 128.
In the third round, or “Moving Day” as some people call it, Henley had his worst round of the tournament. Even though Henley recorded no bogeys, he was only able to manage three birdies on the day. Going into the final and deciding round on Sunday, Henley found himself tied with Langley at 17 under par, with a total score of 193 breaking the record held by John Houston and Brad Faxon of 194.
Heading into the final round tied, the two youngsters found themselves playing along side of one another for the fourth straight day. Along with South African Tim Clark, the threesome took the course by storm, totaling a combined 21 birdies on the day. Henley opened strong with a birdie on the opening hole, the fifth toughest on the course over the entire tournament.
Henley found himself with a lead going to the back nine, where he turned on the jets. Henley made six birdies and no bogeys, including five straight to finish the tournament. Henley shot his third 63 of the weekend, to wrap up his first career tour win. Pretty impressive, huh?
With the three 63’s and a third round 67, Henley shot a total of 24 under par 256, a record for total score of the tournament.
Henley was lights out all week at Waialae. After his performance this weekend, Henley leads the PGA tour in strokes gained putting at 12.167. Second on the list? Langley at 8.458.
The win has many benefits for the young Henley. The win earns Henley a trip to two of the tours four major championships, The Masters and the PGA Championship. The win also earns him a trip to the Players Championship, a tournament some view as the tours fifth major title.
Both Henley and Langley took the tour by storm over the course of the week. With both players ready to play their first full season on tour, golf fans everywhere have even more to look forward to. Both players have long and promising careers ahead of them.