The morning after University of Georgia senior Russell Henley became the second amateur ever to win on the Nationwide Tour, he still had some unfinished business.
Despite a celebratory party at his house following the victory, he woke up early and handed in the final term paper of his college career. The course was called Career Development.
Score one for irony.
Henley’s career development took a major leap forward on Sunday, when he defeated a field of professionals who are just one small step away from becoming PGA Tour regulars, posting a final-round 3-under 68 to win the Stadion Classic by two strokes on his home course.
“It was a timeline of my life,” Henley said. “Everything I’ve accomplished so far, everything I’ve done so far. So I wrote a few pages on that.”
“I could have written that paper for him, because I know his career development,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said with a laugh. “He should do OK on that paper.”
Henley may have a successful career lined up, but it will have to wait until later this year. Following his upcoming graduation, he intends to remain an amateur through the summer in hopes of competing in the Walker Cup.
If his stellar collegiate record and a T-16 result in last year’s U.S. Open didn’t already make him a leading candidate, his coach said this latest triumph wouldn’t hurt in the eyes of U.S. captain Jim Holtgrieve.
“We’ve had numerous talks about Russell,” Haack intimated. “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s interested and has Russell on his radar screen. And I would imagine this past weekend got his attention.”
While many All-Americans and would-be PGA Tour members have played at Georgia over the years, Haack puts Henley in the mix amongst the best of all-time.
“He’s been a special player; I’m going to be pretty sad to see him leave,” he said. “I would certainly say he’s got to be right up there with the best of them. I’ve had some very good ones here. It would be hard to categorize any of those guys as the best, but certainly he’s been one of the best.”
With Henley still in the room and listening in on his coach, Haack then offered a light-hearted, “He’d be in my top-25, at least.”
It’s pretty good to be Henley these days. Not only is he the owner of a nice, big trophy, but with classes now complete any remaining senioritis is well-deserved.
In fact, he was asked Monday which felt better – the win or the graduation – then hemmed and hawed before choosing the former.
“I guess it feels better to win on the Nationwide,” he claimed, “although no more school is going to be really nice for the golf game and the stress level.”
No, there’s not much stress for Henley right now, even if that final paper for Career Development was incomplete. You see, he actually wrote it last week and simply forgot to turn it in, excluding a large chunk of development for his impending career that took place this past weekend.
When asked if he may be docked a few letter grades for not updating the paper with his latest success, Henley doesn’t chafe at that possibility.
“I would take a C,” he maintained. “C is a great grade.”
Sounds like a kid who is ready to graduate – and isn’t too worried about his career development.
Follow Jason Sobel on Twitter @JasonSobelGC