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Henley Runs Away with Sony Open
Russell Henley shocked the golf world on Sunday by shooting his third 7-under 63 in four rounds at the Sony Open. In the first PGA Tour event of his career, the 23-year-old University of Georgia grad finished at 24-under 256 to win the $5.6 million tournament, the second event of the young 2013 season.
Henley, who started the final round tied for the lead with fellow rookie Scott Langley, posted three birdies and a bogey through 10 holes followed by three straight pars and an incredible five birdies on the final five holes to make an amazingly precocious debut.
"I don't really even know what just happened," a smiling Henley said at greenside after he became the tournament's youngest winner, bypassing Ben Crenshaw who was 24 when he won in 1996.
As for his remarkable closing stretch, the Macon, Ga., native told reporters, "That was just me trying to focus on my routine and letting the shot go and not trying to guide it or help it, and that's kind of one of the tendencies I have under pressure. Just trying to play free golf."
The win was worth $990,000, ensuring Henley a spot in next year's Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and perhaps an invitation to April's Masters in his home state.
Sharing third at 263 were fellow Georgian Charles Howell III (66) and Langley, who posted an even-par 70 at Waialea Country Club in Honolulu.
Matt Kuchar (65), Brian Stuard (65) and Chris Kirk (66) tied for fifth at 16-under 264, while another shot back was Jeff Overton (65).
Henley admitted that keeping his composure was huge on Sunday, but the approach worked. "That was definitely 10 times as nervous as I've ever been," he told reporters later. "I was just trying to stick to my routine and stay committed and stay in the present."
For complete scoring, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.