So who is Mark Hensby?
BY Anthony Powter | US PGA Tour | 2005 US Open | Round Three | 19 Jun 2005
It was these words that crossed the lips of a US commentator and former winner of the US Open during the third round of the US Open at Pinehurst No.2. It is not the first time remarks have come from this commentator that have caused the odd Aussie ear to prick back, there was the comment last year about Craig Parry’s swing that did not go unnoticed and raised a few eyebrows.
For the record Mark Hensby is a 33-year-old Melbournian who played little amateur golf in Australia, went to the US at the age of 23 with no money and a dream to become a golf professional.
That he has done. The odd US$3 million in his bank account to date as well as full time playing privileges on the USPGA Tour proves that.
His first experience in the US was to say the least – patchy. There was the Nationwide Tour, he had a so- so first year on the PGA Tour in 2001, but without doubt 2004 was his year or “awakening”.
During 2004 on the PGA Tour, Hensby won the John Deere Classic and finished 15th on the moneylist after playing in 29 tournaments. He was in the money for 19 events and carded 8 top ten finishes. It was his second time on the PGA Tour after finishing seventh on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2003. During 2003 he made the cut in 17 of 23 events on the Nationwide Tour and earned his third victory on this tour at the Henrico County Open. The other two were the 1998 Nike Fort Smith Classic and the 2000 Carolina Classic.
The question that begs the answer then is, how could a seasoned golf commentator not know Hensby? Ian Baker-Finch is reported to have remarked – “Obviously he has not watched much golf lately”.
If Hensby were to claim the US Open on Sunday, it will be the first occasion since 1913 that a first timer has won the US Open Championship.
As it is Mark’s first appearance at the US Open, you could then possibly be excused for questioning who he is, but that is probably being too kind.
Hensby himself is guarded about the prospect of finishing on top come Sunday.
“I played terrible today. But I scored all right and who knows, tomorrow if I can play better, maybe I have a chance. This course eventually catches up to you if you miss too many fairways as I did today.”
That appears to be Hensby’s issue – hitting fairways. After three rounds he has hit just 11 of 42. With that statistic he sits last of the 83 players who made the weekend.
All players have commented that hitting the crowned putting surface at Pinehurst No.2 from the rough is “mission impossible” with one exception, Tiger Woods who appears to have perfected the “high” 3 iron shot from 3 inches of rough.
He sits only four strokes behind Retief Goosen, and as Mark commented, “I missed too many fairways. You have got to hit fairways to have any chance of winning. But I see what happen. Retief is playing well and he likes this US Open”.
If he makes a playoff, Hensby’s record is good, 1-0 and a Hensby victory would not be seen as an upset, but rather another Aussie success on US soil this year.
Then, everyone will know who mark Hensby is.