The Union Recorder

Local Sports

January 14, 2013

Henley gets PGA Tour career off to record start

(Continued)

HONOLULU —

Henley had a two-shot lead with seven holes to play when he calmly sank a 10-foot par putt on the 12th, and he began to pull away with a 45-foot birdie putt on the 14th.

When the rookie rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 17th to stay three shots ahead, Clark started laughing. There wasn't anything else he could do.

"He just never seemed to put a foot wrong, and when he did, he made those par putts," Clark said. "That's when you know a guy is comfortable, when he's making those 8- to 10-footer for par. But I still got on the 15th hole and said, 'Well, let's finish with four birdies and see what happens.' And sure enough, he birdied the last four, too. When a guy plays that well and beats you, you just have to be happy for them."

Henley finished at 24-under 256, breaking by four shots the Sony Open scoring record held by Brad Faxon in 2001 and John Huston in 1998. It was the second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA Tour history, two shots behind Tommy Armour III in 2003 at the Texas Open.

And that wasn't the only mark Henley left on Waialae Country Club. He set tournament records for the low 36-hole score after his 63-63 start, he shared the 54-hole record with Langley and set another tournament record with the lowest final round by a champion.

Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

He 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 he putts, there's no telling where this will lead.

For starters, the 23-year-old from Macon, Ga., can add a local event to his schedule — he's going to the Masters in April.

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