In case you missed it last night, former Georgia golfer Russell Henley made quite a splash in his first event as a member of the PGA Tour.
The Macon native won the Sony Open in Honolulu by birdieing the last five holes to win by three shots at 24-under par in a record-setting performance.
Henley won $1,008,000. Quite a paycheck for someone who couldn’t collect the $99,000 winner’s check as an amateur when he won the Stadion Classic at UGA on the Web.com Tour in 2011.
The win puts the 23-year old Henley into the Masters in Augusta this April.
Henley has played the course when he was on the Georgia golf team and attended the major as a kid.
“I grew up with these two twins, Matthews and Madison Barnett, and their dad would always take us to the Masters every year,” Henley told reporters, according to ASAP Sports. “We’d stop at Krispy Kreme, where I think Phil (Mickelson) had stopped before, and they had two tickets, and I would either go with Matthews or Madison, we grew up playing golf together, and they would drop us off, and me and Madison or Matthews would get to go in and walk the course. I remember we would walk up to the ropes and we’d touch the grass with our hands, and we’d just — I remember seeing these rolling hills of green and seeing the guys hit the shots and just being so amazed at the whole experience, the smell, the environment of it, and being so close to home, it was just the biggest deal for me just to get to go. That’s why I think it was really hard for me to block that out because that’s something — I probably think about the Masters a few times a day.”
Henley was one of three golfers who played at Georgia who finished in the top nine this weekend. Chris Kirk tied for fifth and Harris English tied for ninth.
“I’m just happy that there’s a lot of Georgia guys playing well,” Henley told reporters. “Erik Compton is out here and obviously Bubba (Watson) is playing pretty well. Aaron Murray is coming back to play one more year, and I’m excited about that. What a good guy.”
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