Just hours before Nike Golf are expected to announce the arrival of a certain World No.1, staff player Russell Henley has become the first player in 12 years to win his PGA Tour debut.
The 23-year-old American, who emulates the feat of Garrett Willis in the 2001 Tucson Open, closed out the Sony Open with five consecutive birdies for a 63 and three-shot victory over Tim Clark on a tournament record score of 24-under.
Henley, who broke the Sony Open scoring record by four shots that was last set by Brad Faxon in 2001 as well as post the second-lowest score of a 72-hole tournament in PGA Tour history behind Tommy Armour at the 2003 Texas Open, is also heading to The Masters.
“It's been my goal to make it to the Masters my whole life so I'm speechless right now,” said the Macon, Georgia resident, who had won three times on the Web.com Tour since May 2011 prior to his maiden PGA Tour title.
“I don't really know what happened out there. This is the most nervous I've ever been. That's the hardest thing I've ever done.”
He also set tournament records for the low 36-hole score after his 63-63 start and set another tournament record with the lowest final round by a champion.
Sporting a full bag of Nike equipment, Henley found 83% of the greens in regulation with his Nike VR Pro Cavity and VR Pro Combo irons, as well as average 293 yards off the tee with his Nike VR_S driver.
Sitting at World No.130 going into the event, the win also bumps Henley into the top 50 in the rankings.
Elsewhere, last week's Tournament of Champions winner Dustin Johnson was forced to withdraw from the event during round two after suffering from the flu.
-24 R Henley (US)
-21 T Clark (SA)
-17 C Howell, S Langley (US)
What’s in Henley's bag
Driver: Nike VR_S (9.5-degree; Graphite Design AD GT 7X)
Fairway Wood: Nike SQ Sumo (13-degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board)
Hybrid: Nike VR Pro (18-degree; Mitsubishi Diamana Fubuki)
Irons: Nike VR Pro Cavity (3-6); Nike VR Pro Combo (7-9; True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (47, 53 and 59-degree; True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner)
Putter: Nike Method 006 proto
Ball: Nike 20XI X
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