Brilliant Henley Secures Last Spot in Masters Field

By: Golfshake Editor | Mon 03 Apr 2017 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

RUSSELL HENLEY qualified to join the field at The Masters after coming from four shots back to win the Shell Houston Open. The 27-year-old American knew that his only way into the field at Augusta was to win in Texas. It looked like a long shot, but Henley did it.

He shot a final round of 65 that featured 10 birdies and could even afford to drop a shot at the 18th as he took the title by three shots, leaving third-round leader Sung Kang trailing in his wake.

He was thrilled with his play. "I made 10 birdies today?" he asked. "Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah, then I guess it's definitely the best I canplay."

Henley birdied five of the first eight holes to catch Kang, only to make a double bogey at the par three ninth. It meant he had to start all over again.

At the par-five 13th, Henley and Kang were tied for the lead. Henley pitched to three feet for birdie, while Kang missed from 15 feet. At the next hole Henley rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt and extended his lead to three with another birdie on the par-5 15th.

He finished with a bogey for 20-under 268, three shots ahead of Kang.

Rickie Fowler struggled from the start. He made a double bogey with a wild drive on the second hole, and then found water at the fourth to drop another shot. In the end, a series of late birdies allowed Fowler to close with a 70 and a tie for third, alongside Luke List.

"It was just an alignment problem that just caused me to make a couple bad swings, cost me a few shots," Fowler said. "Nice that I got it turned around and started to make some good swings and made some birdies and fought back, got a good finish out of it. Obviously, yeah, I would have like to have gotten off to a better start."

Jon Rahm, the 22-year-old rookie from Spain, closed with a 67 and tied for 10th, his fourth consecutive top 10 as he heads to Augusta National for his Masters debut.

It was Henley's first win since a playoff victory over Rory McIlroy in the 2014 Honda Classic. "I wasn't expecting to go back to Augusta," he said. "I was planning on not going, but I was going to try my best to win. So, the fact I get to go back is pretty cool and I'm excited. It hasn't really sunk in yet."

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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