Henley prevails as Aussies falter
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii | Wrap | 14 Jan 2013
23 year old PGA Tour rookie, Russell Henley, today won his first PGA Tour event in just his third start and his very first as a cardholder when he held off a determined late challenge from South African Tim Clark to win the Sony Open in Honolulu.
Henley was more than equal to the challenge of Clark as he birdied his final five holes to better the four closing birdies of Clark.
Henley, a two time winner on the Web.Com Tour in 2012, has carried that late season form over to the PGA Tour compiling three rounds of 63 in his amazing total of 256 – 24 under par on the par 70 layout.
Henley immediately earns three year’s exemption, a start at the Masters and a start at the Accenture Match Play not to mention the US$990,000 first prize.
“It felt pretty hard,” said Henley reflecting on trying to get the job done today. “Yeah, that was definitely 10 times as nervous as I’ve ever been. I was just trying to stick to my routine and stay committed and stay in the present.”
The Australians struggled on the final day with the exception of Marc Leishman, his final round of 67 moving him into a share of 9th position.
For Scott Gardiner and Matt Jones however they lost ground on the final day with rounds of 71 and 70 respectively. They tied for 15th but the cheque Gardiner earned is nearly the equal of the US$90,000 he earned when winning on the Nationwide Tour in 2010.
Gardiner made the worst possible start dropping three shots early in his round before staging a recovery. He was unable to go on with it but overall a promising start to his PGA Tour career.
New Zealander Danny Lee had a good week after pre-qualifying on Monday. Lee finished in a tie for 13th, alas just one shot short of a top ten and a start at Farmers Insurance Open.
The PGA Tour now heads back to the mainland where they will play the Humana Challenge at PGA West in La Quinta.