If the Sony Open in Hawaii isn’t one of Russell Henley’s favorite PGA Tour stops, it should be.
Not only did he win in his tournament debut in 2013, but he’s made six of nine cuts at Waialae with a runner-up finish mixed in last year.
The former Georgia Bulldog posted 63-63-67-63 to win by three over Tim Clark. His 24-under 256 was the lowest winning score in tournament history until Justin Thomas posted 253 in 2017.
"“I love the greens. They just remind me of home growing up in Georgia, and they are fun to putt on,” Henley was transcribed by ASAP Sports in 2021. “It’s a fun course. I’m just thankful and excited to be here.”"
He has four top-20s at the Sony, with T-17th (72-64-67-67) in 2015, T-13th (64-67-68-68) in 2017, and solo second (62-63-67-65) last year.
He came out hot out of the gates in 2022, taking a three-shot lead into the weekend and up by two after Saturday over Hideki Matsuyama.
Of course, Matsuyama heated up on Sunday to tie Henley in regulation and make eagle on the par-5 18th in the first playoff hole.
Posting 23-under like Henley did is usually enough to get it done. It beat third place by four shots.
He ranked second in the field in strokes gained approach (6.646) and even had the hot putting week (3rd SG, 5.886), but a poor short game week cost him.
Closing out tournaments has been a critique for Henley in recent years. He bucked that trend in November when he fired 63-63-65-70 to run away by four shots at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
That was his fourth PGA Tour victory. It came on a course with Bermuda fairways like Waialae.
Henley’s iron play is an asset this week. He was second last season on the PGA Tour in SG approach per round (.969). Short game isn’t usually a problem like it was last year at the Sony. He was 21st in SG around the green (.325).
He’s coming off a T-30th finish last week at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.