Planet Golf — 13 January 2013 by GW staff and news services
Rookie Henley wins Sony by 3

HONOLULU — Russell Henley became the  first PGA Tour rookie to win his debut in 10 years with a record-setting performance Sunday in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Tied for the lead with fellow rookie  Scott Langley to start the final round, Henley seized control from the  start with a birdie on the first hole. And then he really poured it on at the end of the round. Henley birdied his last five holes to close  with a 7-under 63 for a three-shot win over Tim Clark.

Henley moved into a tie with Dustin Johnson atop the FedExCup standings. Both players lead with 500 points.

Henley finished at 24-under 256,  breaking by four shots the Sony Open in Hawaii scoring record. It was the  second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA TOUR history, one  shot behind Tommy Armour III at the Valero Texas Open in 2003.

The win gives Henley an invitation to the Masters.

Leaderboard: Russell Henley, 63-63-67-63—256 (-24); Tim Clark, 64-66-66-63—259 (-21); Charles Howell III, 66-64-67-70—263 (-17); Scott Langley, 62-66-65-66—263 (-17).

Russell Henley

    • With his victory at the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii, Russell Henley earns 500 FedExCup points and moves into a first-place tie with last week’s champion Dustin Johnson.
    • He wins his first PGA Tour victory at age 23 years, 9 months and 1 day in just his third official start. He had two as an amateur.
    • With his win, he becomes the first rookie to win in his first start as an official member of the PGA Tour since Garrett Willis at the 2001 Touchstone Energy Tucson Open. The last rookie to win a Tour event was Charlie Beljan at the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Classic.
    • He also earns the winner’s share of $1,008,000 and becomes the ninth player to make this event his first PGA Tour win. Others who won their first event here were Ted Makalena (1966), Grier Jones (1972), John Schlee (1973), Gary Groh (1975), Isao Aoki (1983), David Ishii (1990), John Morse (1995) and Jerry Kelly (2002).
    • His 72-hole numerical total of 257 broke the tournament scoring mark of 260 set by John Huston in 1998 and matched by Brad Faxon in 2001.
    • Henley’s 256 is the third-lowest 72-hole total (tie with Mark Calcavecchia/2001 Phoenix Open). Tommy Armour III posted a total of 254 (26-under) at the 2003 Valero Texas Open, while Steve Stricker posted a 255 at the 2009 Bob Hope Classic.
    • He becomes the seventh former University of Georgia player to win a Tour event, joining Chip Beck, Bill Kratzert, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Tim Simpson, and Ryuji Imada.
    • Earlier this week, Henley set a Sony Open in Hawaii record for the best first 36-hole score in event history at 14-under-par 126. It broke the record of 12-under-par 128 set in 1994 by Davis Love III and matched by John Huston (1998), Paul Azinger (2000), Brad Faxon (2001) and John Cook (2002).
    • He is the fifth consecutive winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii to post four straight rounds in the 60s.
    • Finished the week second in Greens in Regulation, hitting 60 of 72 (83.33 percent).
    • Henley became the second-ever amateur to ever win on the Tour when he captured the 2011 Stadion Classic at UGA one week before graduating from the University of Georgia. He won seven times during his college career at Georgia, tying the school’s all-time record set by Chris Kirk.
    • Henley, a 23-year-old native of Macon, Ga., was one of five two-time winners on the Tour in 2012, finishing No. 3 on the official money list.

Tim Clark

    • Clark posted the lowest 72-hole total of his career when he finished with a 21-under-par 259. His previous best was 263 at the 2009 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth where he finished T2.
    • His four-round total of 259 was the 14th (tie) lowest 72-hole total in Tour history.
    • He has now posted a runner-up finish for nine consecutive years (11 overall).
    • Was a runner-up at this event in 2011, finishing two strokes behind Mark Wilson along with Steve Marino.

Tournament Notes:

    • The last players to win in first starts as official members of the Tour are Henrik Stenson (2007 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship) and Garrett Willis (2001 Touchstone Energy Tucson Open).
    • The last player to win the Sony Open in his first attempt was Bruce Lietzke (1977).
    • Past champions of the Sony Open in Hawaii: Vijay Singh (T24), Ryan Palmer (T67), Zach Johnson (MC), Johnson Wagner (MC), Jerry Kelly (MC), K.J. Choi (MC), Mark Wilson (MC).
    • It was a nice two-week stretch in Hawaii for Matt Kuchar. After finishing T9 in the previous event (Hyundai Tournament of Champions) on Maui, Kuchar added a T4 finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He was the only player who competed in both events to post a pair of top-10 finishes.
    • Charles Howell III posted his seventh top-5 finish in this event when he finished T3. With a final-round 66, Howell has never shot anything worse than even-par 70 in his 20 weekend rounds. In addition to his T3 finish on Sunday, Howell’s other top-5 finishes were: 2012 (T2), 2010 (T5), 2009 (4th), 2007 (T2), 2005 (T3) and 2002 (T4).
    • Former members of the University of Georgia golf team had an impact on the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii with three claiming top-10 finishes. In addition to Russell Henley’s win, Chris Kirk was T5 and Harris English was T9.
    • Johnson Wagner missed the cut this week in his bid to become just the fourth player to successfully defend a title at the Sony Open in Hawaii – Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87) and Ernie Els (2003-04).
    • Scott Gardiner finished T15 in his first Tour start.
    • Henley, Y.E. Yang and Tim Clark had Sunday’s low round with 7-under-par 63s.
    • Monday qualifier Danny Lee, the 2008 U.S. Amateur champ, missed a 25 inch putt on the final hole to close with a 69 to finish T13. Had he finished in the top-10, he would have earned a berth in the Farmers Insurance Open.
    • A total of 23 players posted four rounds in the 60s, 15 more than a year ago.

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