WEDDINGTON Russell Henley knew that, one day, hed win his first tournament as a professional golfer.
Henley finally pulled it off it just took a little longer than normal, beating two other players in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday to win the Chiquita Classic at The Club at Longview.
The Macon, Ga., native won his second career PGA Web.com Tour event the first came last year in Athens, Ga., as an amateur and his first since turning pro at the end of the 2011 season.
It means a little bit more, said Henley, who won $99,000 and climbed from 35th to 12th on the Web.com Tour money list. It hasnt been a smooth road. It was a tough start to the year for me. But Ive overcome a lot, so this feels good.
Henley finished the tournament at 22-under-par 266, along with Morgan Hoffmann and qualifier Patrick Cantlay. Henley then parred the first playoff hole after both Hoffmann and Cantlay made bad approach shots and had to settle for bogeys.
However, things nearly turned out the other way during regulation play.
Henley, who had a share of the lead since the opening round, began the final day with a five-shot lead, but that quickly evaporated as he struggled to get the ball on the green. Meanwhile, both Hoffmann and Cantlay were tearing up the course, shooting 7-under 65s to whittle down the margin.
I expected a challenge, said Henley, who shot a 2-under 70 Sunday. If I had shot 5- or 6-under, thatd be really hard to beat. But its tough to keep making birdies. I finally realized that I was tied, and that I had to do something if I wanted to have a chance.
Cantlay and Hoffmann caught up with Henley with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, respectively, the two coming within seconds of each other. Henley then went up a stroke with a birdie on No. 17, only to lose it when two bad shots the first into a fairway bunker, the second into the lake forced him to salvage a bogey on No. 18, setting up the playoff.
But it was Cantlay and Hoffmann who had the bad shots on the playoff hole Cantlay put his drive into the same bunker, came up 30 yards short of the green with his second, and missed a 20-foot putt for par. Meanwhile, Hoffmann put his second shot into the lake near the green, forcing him to lose a stroke.
It was kind of a loose swing, and I pulled it a touch, Cantlay said. I was trying to go for the green (with the second shot), but its really tough when you dont have a good stance.
Holly Springs Brad Fritsch, who shared the lead with Henley after the second and third rounds, faltered Sunday, shooting an even-par 72 to finish at 20-under 268, good for fourth. Robert Streb (5-under 67) and Scott Dunlap (4-under 68) tied for fifth at 17-under 271.