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Henley shoots 68, gets better of Schwartzel

Russell Henley
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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – For the second time in a week, Russell Henley found himself paired with Charl Schwartzel, and for the second time he was able to get the better of the South African.

After defeating the former Masters champion, 1-up, in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last week, Henley carded a 2-under 68 Thursday at the Honda Classic, two shots better than Schwartzel's even-par 70.

'I played very well today, didn't miss many fairways,' he explained after carding two birdies and an eagle against a pair of bogeys. 'Really difficult golf courses, I always feel confident on. I like for things to be a little tough out there.'

Henley remained humble when discussing the outcome of last week's match with Schwartzel, noting that the topic didn't come up during their round together Thursday.

'I mean, it's one round of golf. He's won The Masters; I haven't won a major,' he noted. 'He's done a lot more than me.'

After playing his college golf at the University of Georgia, the Sony Open champion is looking forward to the next few weeks as the PGA Tour begins its annual Florida swing.

'I had a little trouble reading the greens out on the West Coast,' explained Henley, who took 30 putts during his opening round. 'Over here I feel a little more comfortable, little closer to what I grew up on in South Georgia. I just feel very comfortable on the greens here.'

Now only six weeks away from his first appearance at Augusta National, the Georgia native admitted to occasionally letting his thoughts slip to that first trip down Magnolia Lane as a participant.

'I think about it sometimes, made some plans on where I'm going to stay,' he added. 'There's a long way to go though, so I'm just trying to stay in the present.'