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PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley wins Sony Open in Hawaii | Golf
Russell Henley won the Sony Open in Honolulu by three shots in his first start on the PGA Tour.
HONOLULU — Russell Henley made a lasting impression in his rookie debut on the PGA Tour with a record-setting performance Sunday in the Sony Open.
Tied for the lead with fellow rookie Scott Langley to start the final round, Henley took control with a birdie on the opening hole and then poured it on at the end.
Henley closed with five straight birdies for a 7-under-par 63, finally showing emotion with a sweeping uppercut when his 8-foot putt disappeared into the cup on No. 18.
The former college standout at Georgia won by three shots over Tim Clark, who birdied seven of his last 11 holes and made up only one shot on the leader.
Henley finished at 24-under 256, smashing by four shots the Sony Open scoring record last set by Brad Faxon in 2001.
It was the second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA Tour history, two shots behind Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open.
Welcome to the big leagues, Russell.
Henley became the first PGA Tour rookie to win his debut since Garrett Willis in the 2001 Tucson Open, which was held the same week as the winners-only event in Kapalua. And the way Henley putts, there is no telling where this will lead.
For starters, the 23-year-old from Macon, Ga., can add a local event to his schedule — he is going to the Masters in April.
"I don't really know what happened, honestly," said Henley, who earned $1.008 million. "This is the most nervous I've ever been. That's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's been my goal to make it to the Masters my whole life. I'm kind of speechless right now."
He then acknowledged his parents and his girlfriend, watching from home. Henley spent his first week as a Tour member on his own, and that's about how he looked in the final round at Waialae Country Club. No one was particularly close to him.
Clark also shot a 63. Charles Howell III closed with a 66 to tie for third with Langley, who birdied his last two holes for a 70.
Kyle Stanley (73) of Gig Harbor tied for 67th place at 1 under.
For all the birdies Henley made, the biggest putt might have been for par. Henley was two shots ahead of Langley and Clark when he pulled his tee shot on the 12th hole and did well to hit a punch shot through the green, followed by a downhill pitch to 10 feet. He made the putt look easy, and two holes later, he poured in a 45-foot birdie putt that sent him on his way. Except for the 18th, his last four birdie putts were all 12 feet or longer.
Down the stretch, Henley only looked to be in trouble when he hooked his tee shot well left on the 16th, flirting with out of bounds.
No problem. He hammered a shot over a row of royal pines to 12 feet and turned trouble into a birdie. And when he made an 18-foot birdie on the 17th hole, Clark could only laugh.
• South African Louis Oosthuizen closed with a 6-under 66 to beat Scott Jamieson of Scotland by one stroke and win the Volvo Champions, a European Tour event at Durban Country Club in South Africa.
Oosthuizen, who is ranked fourth in the world, finished at 16-under total 272. Jamieson shot a 72.