Acing His Homework

By Jason SobelMay 9, 2011, 10:57 pm

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.

Russell Henley
Henley posted scores of 72-66-66-68 (12 under) to win by two. (Getty Images)
Needless to say, that wasn’t included in the class curriculum – and his term paper may have been a little more interesting than those of his classmates.

“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

 

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."