Russell Henley became the first golfer in 12 years to win in his professional debut on the U.S. PGA Tour with a three-shot victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii in which he shattered the tournament scoring record.
Henley, a 23-year-old rookie from Macon, Georgia, shot a 7-under-par 63 for the third time in four days to finish with 24-under 256 over four rounds at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. The tournament’s previous scoring record of 260 was set by John Huston in 1998 and matched by Brad Faxon in 2001.
Henley birdied his final five holes yesterday to become the first golfer to win his PGA Tour debut since Garrett Willis in 2001. His 72-hole scoring total was tied for the third-lowest in PGA Tour history, two strokes off the record set by Tommy Armour III at the 2003 Valero Texas Open.
“That was definitely 10 times as nervous as I’ve ever been,” said Henley, who received $1 million for the win. “I was just trying to stick to my routine and stay committed.”
South African Tim Clark was the runner-up at 21 under par, followed by Americans Charles Howell III and Scott Langley at 17 under.
Henley last year won twice on the Web.com Tour and earned his PGA Tour card by finishing third on the money list. He also won on the Web.com Tour as an amateur in 2011, one week before graduating from the University of Georgia, where he matched the school record by winning seven events.