Russell Henley wins Honda Classic

Russell Henley came through a four-man play-off to secure his second PGA Tour victory at The Honda Classic.

The American made a birdie at the first extra hole to defeat Russell Knox, Ryan Palmer and Rory McIlroy, who was two clear after three rounds.

The Ulsterman looked in control after a birdie at the par-3 5th, but he dropped six shots in his next 11 holes to fall one off the lead.

It was a chaotic finish at PGA National, with a succession of players falling foul of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Trap on the Champion Course.

Knox, Henley and McIlroy all found water over the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, but Henley stood on the 18th tee tied for the lead with Knox and Palmer, who set the clubhouse target on 8-under-par.

McIlroy needed a birdie to match their 72-hole total, and produced an unbelievable 5-wood approach to set up a 10-foot eagle putt.

Henley, who missed the green left, duffed his chip, and the scene was set for the Ulsterman.

But he missed on the low side, and the four players headed back to the 18th tee. Henley was the only one to find the green in two, and he two putted for victory after the other three players missed their respective birdie putts.

“I was so nervous coming down the stretch, just trying to hang in there and try to enjoy every step.

“The crowd today was like nothing like I’d ever experienced and I wish I could play in front of a crown like that every day.

“This isn’t going to sink in for a while!”

Elsewhere, Tiger Woods withdrew after 12 holes of the final round with back pain, and Luke Donald notched his first top 10 of the season.

The Honda Classic
PGA National Champion Course, Florida, USA
Feb 27 – Mar 2, purse €6,000,000, par 72

1) Russell Henley (USA) 64-68-68-72 = 272 €1,080,000
T2) Russell Knox (SCO) 70-63-68-71 = 272 €448,000
T2) Rory McIlroy (NIR) 63-66-69-74 = 272 €448,000
T2) Ryan Palmer (USA) 68-66-69-69 = 272 €448,000
5) Billy Hurley III (USA) 70-67-67-69 = 272 €240,000
T6) David Hearn (CAN) 67-70-70-67 = 273 €208,500
T6) Will MacKenzie (USA) 67-68-69-70 = 273 €208,500
T8) Stuart Appleby (AUS) 69-69-65-72 = 275 €168,000
T8) Luke Donald (ENG) 67-68-68-72 = 275 €168,000
T8) Sergio Garcia (ESP) 72-68-68-67 = 275 €168,000
T8) David Lingmerth (SWE) 69-68-68-70 = 275 €168,000

Bold signifies Titleist golf ball usage

Where next?

Tshwane Open report
2014 golf equipment guide