Henley wins Web.com Jacksonville Open in playoff, second win of season

Russell Henley
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Russell Henley birdied the final hole of regulation Sunday, then won the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open with a par on the first playoff hole.
PGA.com news services

Series: Web.com Tour

Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012 | 7:18 p.m.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- All it took was a par on the first playoff hole Sunday at Dye’s Valley Course for Russell Henley to capture his second victory of the year on the Web.com Tour at the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open.

B.J. Staten, the third-round leader, made a costly double bogey on the first playoff hole and had to settle for second place.


The Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open is the final full-field event of the 2012 Web.Com Tour season.

Finishing two shots back in third was Ben Martin and in fourth, with Aaron Watkins four back.

After a blistering front nine of 30, things kind of slowed down for Henley on the back nine. After seven straight pars, the Georgia resident made a bogey on 17 to drop him one off the lead. Standing on the tee at the last, the former Georgia Bulldog knew what he had to do.

“I pretty much went into 18 thinking I have to make birdie,” he said.

Henley hit his approach to 15 feet, giving him an opportunity to make that 3 at the last. It was very interesting to learn what was going through his mind while lining up that putt.

“I remember I was reading something about Jack Nicklaus in a magazine about making pressure putts,” the second-year pro said. “It said to believe in your line and make a confident stroke, and I did that right there. I just tried to put a confident stroke on it, had the right read, and it was really cool seeing it go in.”

This win made it the second time this year he has won on the Web.com Tour in a playoff, the first coming at the Chiquita Classic.

The victory earned Henley a check for $108,000 and bumped him from ninth place on the money list into the third spot with season earnings of $365,366. He also became the fifth two-time winner on the 2012 Web.com Tour.

So why is it that the three-time winner on the Web.com Tour is so successful in playoffs?

“Honestly, I’m just happy to be competing; I wish I was still out there playing,” the 23-year-old revealed. “I enjoy competing more than I do getting done and looking back on it. I just love feeling nervous, feeling the pressure and having to hit shots and I think that’s helped me out.”

The final stop of the 2012 season is next week's Web.com Tour Championship (Oct. 25-28) at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, where 25 PGA Tour cards for 2013 will be awarded to the Tour's leading money winners.

Final-round notes:

--Three players moved inside the top-60 on the money list and earned a spot in the Web.com Tour Championship next week. They are: B.J. Staten (69 to 32), Kevin Foley (66 to 54) and Ben Martin (94 to 60).

--With his tie for 10th, Camilo Benedetti moved into the 25th spot on the money list, bumping Doug Labelle II to the 26th spot.

--Russell Henley’s 5-under 30 on the front nine is the second of the tournament. His teammate at the University of Georgia, Hudson Swafford, shot 30 on the front nine in Round 1.

--Kevin Foley shot a final-round 67, which put him in a tie for fifth. The finish was good enough to earn him a spot in the field next week.

“I tried to not really think about any of that out there, I obviously knew where I stood heading into the week. I was just trying to put myself in contention to win,” he said. “I got off to a hot start and was 4 under through five. You just have to keep it I the fairways so overall it was a really good round and it was what I needed to get it done. It was a good round and it feels good to play well when things are on the line and hopefully it was good enough to get me to Texas.”

Sitting at 54th on the money list, the Web.com Tour rookie has given himself one more chance to earn a PGA Tour card for 2013.