Henley coasts to 4-shot PGA Tour victory in Mayakoba
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PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) Russell Henley finally made a bogey, and that's about all that went wrong for him Sunday as he closed with a 1-under 70 for a four-shot victory in the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.
Henley, staked to a six-shot lead going into the final round at El Camaleon, had the lead reduced to three when he missed a 5-foot par putt on the par-5 fifth hole.
He responded with three straight birdies, and no one got closer than four shots the rest of the way.
Henley won for the fourth time on the PGA Tour, and the first time since the Houston Open five years ago.
The previous five times Henley had at least a share of the 54-hole lead, he failed to convert the victory. The most recent was the Sony Open in January, when Hideki Matsuyama made up a two-shot deficit and beat him in a playoff.
"I just tried to learn from my past and my screw-ups," Henley said with a smile. "All those events I didn't close out, they hurt. You never know if you'll win another. To come down 18 with a four-shot lead was really cool."
Henley finished at 23-under 261 to tie the tournament record. He came into the final round as the only player who had not made a bogey all week.
Brian Harman closed with a 66 to finish alone in second, while the group five shots behind included Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and Seamus Power of Ireland, who was coming off a victory last week in Bermuda.
Scheffler lost the No. 1 ranking he had held since March when Rory McIlroy won the CJ Cup two weeks ago. Scheffler closed with a 62 at Mayakoba, leaving him a good chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week at the Houston Open.
McIlroy is not playing again until the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Power shot a 68, and his tie for third with Scheffler, Joel Dahmen, Troy Merritt and Will Gordon put the Irishman atop the FedEx Cup standings and moved him to No. 29 in the world, his highest ranking ever.
Henley moved to No. 33 in the world and is assured of returning to the Masters. Last time, he didn't secure a spot at Augusta National until moving into the top 50 a week before the Masters.
Henley lost three-shot leads at the Wyndham Championship in 2021 and the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in 2020. The other times he was either tied or led by one or two shots, which is not much of a lead on the PGA Tour.
This was a six-shot margin, and it's rare for someone not to win from there. That didn't make it any easier.
"It's tough. I don't sleep well on a lead. I need a lot more practice," Henley said. "I have no idea how Tiger did this 80-some times. It's tough for me just to kind of calm down. You definitely don't feel the same as when you're practicing at home, but that's the fun of it. That's why we play.
"We want to see what we're made of out here and get tested under pressure."
The victory also sends Henley to Kapalua in January for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the first elevated event in a new year of big purses.
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Updated November 6, 2022