Henley Comes Up Short in Richmond

By May 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
04 Henrico County OpenRICHMOND, Va. -- Coulda, shoulda, woulda.
 
Thats probably whats going through the mind of Big Break II winner Kip Henley after he wrapped up his second round Friday at the Henrico County Open.
 
Following up an even-par 72 in the first round, Henley battled for a 2-under-par 70 Friday during extremely tough conditions at the events host course, The Dominion Club, and missed the cut by two strokes.
 
Kip Henley
Kip Henley crushes a drive down the 561-yard par-5 4th en route to an eagle-3 on the hole.
The cut line fell at 4 under as a large group of players completed their second rounds Saturday morning due to a three-hour weather delay Friday morning.
 
Henley, who was playing in his first Nationwide Tour exemption after winning The Golf Channels Big Break II last fall, got hot on his back nine with an eagle and a birdie and several other near missed opportunities.
 
Needing a birdie at the last to hit what at the time was the projected cut line at 3 under, Henley stuck his approach on the par-3 ninth (he started his round on the 10th hole) to within 3 feet of the cup. His birdie putt, however, hung on the lip of the cup resulting in a heartbreaking par.
 
I just moved on the last putt. I took it for granted, said a frustrated Henley following his round. I mean, it was dead straight right up the hill - 3 feet. And it still looked like it was going to rock in there anyway. I just moved on it.
 
Im disappointed more than anything else, thats the biggest thing, said Henley. I dont forgive myself for playing bad.
 
It wasnt all bad, though, as his score of 2 under was one of the better numbers posted on the day. Despite incessant rain and wind gusts of up to 25 mph for much of his front nine, Henley was able to remain at even par.
 
After knocking in a 25-foot bomb for birdie at the par-3 11th, Henley gave one away two holes later when he pulled his tee shot into a fairway bunker down the left side. He was unable to recover and was back to even par.
 
He then reeled off five straight pars to close out his front side, including a pair of clutch putts outside 10 feet that saved par.
 
I felt comfortable out there today, I mean, I felt it a little bit, said Henley about his nerves compared to Thursdays opener. But, you know, I get a little nervous even when I play for 5 bucks with my buddies.
 
Kip Henley
Yvonne Wood of Richmond, Va., came out in support of Kip Henley after watching him win 'The Big Break II.'
Henley got off to a rocky start on the backside when his chip from short of the green raced 12 feet by the hole and he missed the comebacker to move to 1 over.
 
He got the shot right back at the very next hole after hitting a great recovery shot on the par-5 second to within 3 feet. He drained the birdie to get back to even.
 
A par at the third was followed by Henleys best hole of the week at the 561-yard, par-5 fourth. He smashed a drive right down the middle of the fairway and then hit a towering 3-wood over trees to the green, his ball coming to rest some 23 feet from the flagstick. Henleys ensuing putt never left the hole and the eagle moved him to 2 under, much to the joy of his rain-soaked gallery.
 
I think they really helped me stay in it. I may have folded in the tent up once or twice if I didnt have some people watching me, said Henley regarding the fans that followed him throughout his round. Ive had a tendency in my career to give up, but with all the people out there that were watching, with it freezing and raining and theyre out there with me, so it was maybe a little bit more incentive to not fold up the tent and keep trying. And it almost worked out.
 
His eagle, however, turned out to be the last of his scoring. As with his front nine, he closed out his round with five consecutive pars to finish at 2 under, two shots from the cut line.
 
If it (cut line) goes to 3, Im going to be one sick boy, said Henley, whose two-shot penalty on Thursday ultimately cost him a chance to play on the weekend.
 
After a few minutes talking with fans and some old acquaintances following the signing his scorecard, Henley finally began to sound a bit more optimistic.
 
I was just wanting to hit some good iron shots coming in, and I did, said Henley, who moves on next week to Memphis to play with the big boys at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. And I rolled the putter good today although I missed two pretty makeable putts, maybe even three coming in, but I made some good ones, too.
 
I cant be too hard on myself because Im exciting about everything going into Memphis.
 
Related links:
  • Kip's Detailed Rd. 2 Shot-By-Shot
  • Kip's Photo Gallery
  • Kip's Scorecard
  • Kip's Big Break Diary
  • Big Break II Home
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Henrico County Open
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