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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    Web.com Tour releases 2019 schedule, trims Finals

    By Will GraySeptember 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    The Web.com Tour has officially released its full schedule for the 2019 season, a slate that will feature a Labor Day finish and only three Finals events as opposed to four.

    The developmental circuit will feature 27 tournaments, the same number as this season. Things will kick off in the Bahamas for the third straight year, as two events in the islands begin a stretch of five events in as many weeks across four different countries.

    The Feb. 14-17 Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., will be the first domestic event of 2019, and one of three new events to the schedule. Also added are the Evans Scholars Invitational in suburban Chicago and the TPC Colorado Championship in Berthoud, Colo.

    But with the PGA Tour overhauling its schedule and dropping a FedExCup playoff event to finish ahead of football season, the Web.com schedule also features changes next year. The Web.com Tour Finals, which are used to determine the 50 players who will be promoted to the PGA Tour for the following season, will now feature only three events and follow a similar timeline.

    The first Finals event will be the Aug. 15-18 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, followed by the Albertsons Boise Open. The season will conclude Aug. 30-Sept. 2 with the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., one week after the PGA Tour season ends with the revamped Tour Championship in Atlanta.

    The DAP Championship at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, a Finals event for each of the last three years, has been dropped from the 2019 schedule. Gone, too, are the North Mississippi Classic in Oxford and the Rust-Oleum Championship in Ivanhoe, Ill.

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    Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 1:30 pm

    Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

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    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 2:00 am


    Some stories stick with you longer than others. First time you get to do a feature. First time you meet a sports legend (it was Allen Iverson for me). Seeing a championship isn’t bad, either. Been there, done that. Lawnmower museum on the east coast of England, tsunami survivors in California, re-connecting Al Geiberger with his lost 59 tape, all good, but no story or environment has stuck with me like going to Attica Correctional Facility in 2013 to tell the story of Valentino Dixon.

    For starters, I’d never been searched before setting up for an interview. Not just me, everyone - all three cameramen, Jimmy Roberts, the guy escorting us in who worked there. Everyone. Attica trusts no one. Can’t blame them after 1971, when inmates protesting living conditions took members of the prison staff hostage. The ensuing police response left 29 inmates and 10 hostages dead.

    Attica has a "shank wall," a collection of homemade weapons seized from inmates and displayed like baseball cards in a plastic case on the wall outside the guards' lunchroom. Prison interior decorating at its finest. Nice touch.

    We went to do a story on an inmate who was introduced to the world in a Golf Digest article by Max Adler in 2012. "The golf artist who had never stepped foot on a golf course - Valentino Dixon.: He was in for murder. Second degree. You know, your standard golf story.

    Wrongfully imprisoned man freed after nearly three decades

    Dixon, a former aspiring artist before getting caught up in the Buffalo drug-dealing scene, started sketching photos from Golf Digest for the warden. I’ve never been to prison, but from what I have gathered from watching The Shawshank Redemption some 8,000 times, getting in the warden’s good graces is a smart habit to pick up if you’re doing serious time.

    Dixon's art was insanely good. Even more so because he did it all with colored pencils. No paintbrushes allowed (see shank wall above). Jimmy, the crew and I stopped for a good 10-15 minutes to marvel at his creations before continuing with the interview.

    We spent a solid 40 minutes talking to the man who supposedly killed a man 20-something years prior. In that time, he pleaded his innocence to us over and over again. He spoke like a man who had rehearsed every angle of his story over and over and over again. I give him credit - there were no holes in his story. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, and he didn’t look like a killer, didn’t sound like one. either. But what did I know? I’d never met one - that I know of. And if you were stuck in prison for 20-plus years and all of a sudden had a camera in front of you and a platform to plead your innocence, wouldn’t you do your best to try to get out of there?

    Since the guards wouldn’t allow any food, the crew and I stopped at the first deli we saw on the ride back into Buffalo. After we were done eating, we all looked at each other, knowing what we all were thinking: "Do you think he did it?”

    Didn’t matter what we thought, we were just there to tell the story. On Wednesday, however, people whose opinions mattered made a decision and allowed someone who loves the game of golf, but has never stepped foot on a golf course, to do just that if he so chooses. That's a story that will stick with him for the rest of his life.

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    Wrongfully convicted inmate who turned to golf artistry freed

    By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

    Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.

    "I love y'all," Dixon shouted after trading the green prison uniform he wore in court for jeans and a T-shirt. "It feels great."

    Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon's conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.

    "There was a fight. Shots were fired. I grabbed the gun from under the bench, switched it to automatic, all the bullets shot out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying," Lamarr Scott, who has been in prison for 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, told the court. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with."

    Scott said he had gotten the gun, a Tec-9 semi-automatic, from Dixon and the two men had driven together to the crowded corner where the fighting broke out. Scott was given a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, concurrent with his current term.

    Judge Susan Eagan let stand a count of criminal possession of a weapon against Dixon, and its 5- to 15-year sentence, which she said he had satisfied.

    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

    "You are eligible for release today," the judge said, igniting applause and shouts from courtroom supporters.

    "Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters after the hearing. He described Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" at the time of the shooting and said Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

    "Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of," he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

    While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case. NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his "In Play" series on Golf Channel.

    “I’ve worked in this business for close to 40 years, and this is the most consequential thing I’ve ever been a part of," Roberts said after learning of Dixon's release. "I’m a sports reporter, but we helped get a man out of prison. I’m humbled and dumbstruck.”

    Georgetown University students made a documentary as part of a prison reform course last spring. The class worked with Dixon's attorney, Donald Thompson, to have the conviction overturned.

    "It went so far beyond reasonable doubt that it's pretty outrageous that he would have been convicted and it would have been upheld," said Marc Howard, director of the university's Prisons and Justice Initiative. Howard taught the course with childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who also spent years wrongfully imprisoned.

    Dixon said he will keep drawing, while working on behalf of other prisoners.

    "If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he said. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

    His daughter, Valentina Dixon, was a baby when her father went to prison. She brought her 14-month-old twins, Ava and Levi, to court from their Columbus, Ohio, home.

    "We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," she said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

    Dixon's mother, Barbara Dixon, said she was in shock after relying on her faith while fighting for his release.

    "We're going to Red Lobster," she said when asked what was next. "And everybody's invited."