Sport Russell Henley: 'I thought I'd won' with putt on 72nd hole before Sony Open playoff loss
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Russell Henley was 2 inches from bucking his 54-hole lead trend and ending a winless drought that goes back to the 2017 Shell Houston Open.
In the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, 32-year-old held a strong lead over the event's eventual winner, Hideki Matsuyama, making the turn to the back nine. However, Matsuyama kept inching closer to Henley's lead and on the 72nd hole, it was down to one.
Matsuyama smashed his tee shot on the par-5 18th 338 yards en route to making birdie and despite Henley's tee shot landing in the right fairway bunker, he still had a 10-foot putt for birdie that would have notched him his fourth PGA Tour victory. But the putt brutally kissed the right of the cup and fell 2 inches from the hole to Henley's disbelief and, alas, he would fall on the first playoff hole to last year's Masters winner.
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Henley’s birdie putt to win on 18 just skims the outside edge.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)
"I thought I'd won the tournament," Henley said following the final round. "Thought I hit a great putt. Happy with how I hit that putt despite my poor tee shot. You know, tough to be that in the playoff, but I thought I had him after regulation."
Henley now is the second player ever on Tour to shoot a 65 in the final round after holding a 54-hole lead and not win. Abraham Ancer was the first at the 2020 RBC Heritage,Justin Ray. Last season, Henley shared the lead after Day 3 of the CJ Cup, U.S. Open and the Wyndham Championship but couldn't seal the deal.
Adding the Sony Open to that list is a bitter pill to swallow for Henley, but knowing he did everything he could to win, he'll look towards the future. That putt, however, will still sting indefinitely.
"I gave myself a putt on No. 18 to win the golf tournament," he said. "I hit a great putt. So looking back at the start of every week, if you can say you did that despite whatever happened, it's a really good week on the PGA Tour. I'll take a lot of confidence from that.
"I'm really still scratching my head on how I missed that. It was really close to going in. I was close to getting a win. So tough to swallow, but Hideki played great all day and happy for him."
Cantlay holds slim PGA Tour lead at La Quinta .
World number four Patrick Cantlay fired a four-under par 68 in the California desert on Friday and will take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the US PGA Tour American Express. Cantlay, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, had shared the overnight lead with rookie Lee Hodges, but was alone atop the leaderboard after a round that featured six birdies and two bogeys on the Nicklaus Tournament course, one of three in use over the first three rounds of the event. American Tom Hoge was a stroke back after a bogey-free six-under par 66 on the Stadium Course, toughest of the three. "I felt like it was really solid golf," Cantlay said.