Russell Henley wins Shell Houston Open
Humble, Texas – Ten birdies on a soggy Golf Club of Houston course on Sunday lifted Russell Henley to a final round 65 and his first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2014 Honda Classic. It was Henley’s third PGA Tour title and just as importantly gets him into Augusta this week for the Masters.
Inclement weather was the forecast, so the tour sent threesomes out off of both tees hours ahead of schedule, the move paid off as play was uninterrupted despite some strong winds.
Sung Kang who led for much of the week and was striving for his first victory on tour stumbled to an even par 72 to finish second at 3 shots back at 17 under par. Rickie Fowler and Luke List finished tied for third at -16.
“I just knew it was going to be hard,” Henley said. Rickie has been there a lot and Sung was leading by six after two days so obviously he was playing great, I didn’t really see him hit that bad of a shot the whole time. I just told myself to bear down and it doesn’t matter if I’m winning or losing, I’m just gonna go hard the whole time.
I feel like when you embrace the challenge it kind of calms you down a little bit too. It’s hard to believe but maybe it will sink in at some point.”
Speaking on getting into the Masters, Henley was beaming: “It gives me chills. I’ve been trying not to think about it today but obviously it went through my head a lot.”
So Yeon Ryu Wins ANA Inspiration
Rancho Mirage, California – In perhaps the most controversial final round ruling (well, since last years U.S Open gaffe) Lexi Thompson who led by two strokes after missing a short par putt on the 12th green was notified of a four stroke penalty that she was being assessed after a fan sent an email stating that Thompson had replaced her ball improperly on the 17th green during Saturday’s third round.
Here is the official statement from the LPGA:After a full review, it was determined that Thompson breached Rule 20-7c (Playing From Wrong Place), and received a two-stroke penalty under Rule 16-1b. She incurred an additional two-stroke penalty under Rule 6-6d for returning an incorrect scorecard in round three. She was immediately notified of the breach by LPGA Rules Committee in between holes 12 and 13 of the final round.Once the penalty was enforced, Thompson was two strokes off the lead. Fighting through tears, Thompson poured in a 20 foot birdie on the 13th green. With the entire Twitter universe supporting her, she made another birdie to retake the lead. What a story if she could pull it off. She bogeyed the 16th to fall into a tie with Suzanne Pettersen and So Yeon Ryu. Ryu birdied the last to reach 14 under par and a one shot lead.
Thompson rifled her approach at the last to 12 feet for a chance at eagle and the win. She left the walk off putt just short and tapped in to reach a playoff with Ryu (Pettersen failed to birdie the last and finished at -13).In the playoff, Lexi had to lay up after her drive found the deep rough on the right. Ryu went for the green and reached, but the ball ran through the green leaving a tough chip. Thompson’s approach settled about 25 feet away. Ryu chipped to 5 feet, putting all of the pressure back on Lexi. After Thompson missed her birdie try, Ryu poured her putt in the center for her second career major.“Wasn’t expecting that on whatever hole that was. I did not intentionally do that,” Thompson said about the penalty. “So to the officials, or whatever called in, that was not my purpose. I didn’t even realize I did that. My caddie helped me out tremendously. We have a great relationship and he just said, ‘stay with it.’ You can still win and we can birdie this hole and I just tried to gather myself before I hit that tee shot,” Thompson said after her round. “Made a great putt there. But it’s all to the fans. I mean, they helped me get through the rest of the round which helped a lot.”Scores: http://www.lpga.com/leaderboard
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