His name was Russel Henley. This, the Sony Open, the second of the new season’s competition after last week’s Tournament of Champions, was his first tournament as a pro in the PGA Tour. A rookie. A fresh-faced, 23-year-old rookie. And he has won it. What a marvelous start to new season of golf.
It was more marvelous because in winning this tournament, Henley has altered a few records as well:
- first time in 12 years a rookie has won on his first tournament
- broke the tournament record by four strokes (he scored 24-under 256)
- second-lowest score for a 72-hole tournament in PGA Tour history (two strokes behind Tommy Armour III at the Texas Open in 2003)
- set tournament record for lowest 36-hole score (126)
- set tournament record for lowest 54-hole score (193) with Scott Langley, a fellow rookie
- set tournament record for lowest final round score by a champion (63)
Dare we say “Move over, Tiger!” or “Make way, Rory!”? No, I don’t think so. Too early to say such things. Golf is a journey; one win doesn’t make a complete golfer. Even one win in a major doesn’t make someone a golf great.
But for the time being, that’s what we have seen earlier today, and the last three days in Hawaii: a star in the making, a name to be reckoned with. Probably will be there alongside Rory, Tiger, Luke Donald, Phil and others golf big guns. For some time to come.
What a great season this would turn out to be.
pictures: tv grabs