HUMBLE, Texas – Try as he might, Sung Kang wasn’t able to keep pace with a torrid finish from Russell Henley at the Shell Houston Open.
Kang expected a final-round charge from playing partner Rickie Fowler, but instead it was Henley’s 10-birdie performance that denied the Korean his first career PGA Tour victory and first trip to the Masters.
While Kang started the day with a three-shot lead, Henley caught him by the seventh hole and took charge with three straight birdies on Nos. 13-15. Kang didn’t make a single birdie over his final 10 holes and ultimately finished three shots off the pace.
“Russell just played great. He played like I did the first two rounds,” Kang said. “I had a chance coming in on 16, the par 3. Had a 7-footer, but he makes it and I missed and I think that was it. That was the turning point.”
Kang tied the course record with a second-round 63 that gave him a six-shot lead at the halfway point, but after rolling in 300 feet of putts through the first 36 holes he made only six birdies over his final two rounds.
But one putt he did make was a 15-footer for par on the final green, a stroke that salvaged solo second-place honors and gave Kang his best finish in 95 career starts on Tour.
“This week is going to be very memorable for me. I played really solid the first two rounds and then it shifted for two rounds,” he said. I’ll keep grinding it out and working out, and hopefully I can get a chance the next time for myself.”