Sunday, September 30, 2012
Russell Henley wins Chiquita Classic
WEDDINGTON, N.C. -- Russell Henley won the Chiquita Classic on Sunday for his second Web.com Tour title, beating former UCLA star Patrick Cantlay and Morgan Hoffmann with a par on the first hole of a playoff.
Henley finished with a 2-under 70 to match Cantlay and Hoffmann at 22-under 266. Last year while still a student at Georgia, Henley won the tour's Stadion Classic on his college course.
Henley earned $99,000 to jump from 35th to 12th on the money list with $216,566. The final top 25 will earn 2013 PGA Tour cards.
"This win means a little bit more than my victory in Athens last year," Henley said. "It hasn't been a smooth road for me and I had a tough start this year. I feel like I've overcome a lot and it feels good.
"I kept telling myself that I would eventually make it to the PGA Tour and if it didn't happen this year, it would happen when I was ready to go. I wasn't putting too much pressure on myself, I was trying to enjoy this tournament and this moment, rather than thinking what was ahead. I did that very well this week."
Cantlay and Hoffmann each shot 65.
Henley saved bogey on the final hole of regulation with a 20-foot putt to get into the playoff.
After taking a one-stroke lead with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th, Henley found the fairway bunker with his drive on No. 18, then hit his 8-iron approach into the water.
"I had a tough lie in the bunker and hit one of the worst shots of the week, but I hung tough," Henley said. "On the putt, I just tried to let my feel take over and not be too precise with it. I just wanted to put a free stroke on it. It's one of those putts that you try to practice but you can't ever really emulate it. I didn't have much to lose at that point and I put a pretty good stroke on one."
In a playoff on the 18th, Henley two-putted from 20 feet for the winning par.
Cantlay and Hoffmann earned spots next week in the event at TPC Potomac.
Cantlay open qualified Monday to get into the Chiquita event, while Hoffmann earned a spot in the Chiquita field with a top-10 finish last week in Midland, Texas.
"I played really well today and yesterday, so I'm happy where my game is at right now," Cantlay said. "I know a bunch of good golf is ahead of me so I'm really looking forward to the next few events."