J.J. Henry drained a 32-foot birdie putt at the 15th on Sunday.
IRVING, Texas -- J.J. Henry couldn't have asked for much more. An ace at the par-3 fifth that put him in the lead. A string of pars in the middle of his round. A couple of birdies down the stretch.
The local favorite, a resident of Fort Worth, had his cheering section and was closing in on his second PGA TOUR win. Until disaster struck.
He airmailed a 7-iron over the green at the par-3 17th, then three-putted from 27 feet. Having stood on the 17th tee with a one-shot lead, Henry was now behind, and would eventually finish in a four-way tie for third, two strokes behind Jason Dufner.
"Obviously it's disappointing," Henry said. "I played great all day, and to be honest thought I had a great shot on 17. I hit the line exactly where I tried to, and it carried about 6 or 7 yards too far.
"It's disappointing but that's golf. You take the good with the bad."
When it was good for Henry on Sunday, well, it was very good. He used a wedge at the fifth hole to record his second hole-in-one of the year and third in his career. ( Click to watch )
"It just kind of landed downwind past the hole and trickle, trickle, and we saw it disappear and everyone went nuts," Henry said. "It was a great start to the day."
But not a great finish.
"It's tough to be that close and to have it within your grasp with two holes left to play," Henry said. "But you know, we will take the positives and go and hopefully carry it over next week at Colonial."
J.J. Henry aced the par-3 fifth in Sunday's final round.
Henry, who had been tied for the lead prior to hitting his tee shot, briefly took a two-shot lead with the ace. But playing partner Jason Dufner ended up with birdie on the same hole to reduce the lead to one.
The hole-in-one was Henry's second of the year. He had one in the first rounf of the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com.
The ace was the first at the HP Byron Nelson Championship since Ken Duke aced the second hole in the second round of 2010.
Should Henry go on to win, he would be the first winner of a PGA TOUR event to have an ace in the same week since Steve Stricker at last year’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Jonathan Byrd was the last champion to post an ace on the final day. His ace came in a playoff to win the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- J.J. Henry and Mark Brooks were dissecting the par-3 third hole at TPC Sawgrass on a sweltering Wednesday afternoon when Brooks barked, “Let’s hit it to the top shelf, not at the pin. They’re not going to put the pin in the middle of the green.”
Just as Henry hit a baby draw on the 177-yard hole, a gust came up and kept the ball from reaching the putting surface.
Henry quipped something about wanting to hit a low draw to penetrate the wind, to which Brooks again bit back by telling him to move the ball back in his stance and just hit it straight before adding, “Prove me wrong.”
Henry hooked the ball and missed the green again, much seemingly to the delight of Brooks.
Thankfully for Henry, it was only a practice round.
For the past 30 years, Brooks was on the other side of the bag seeking information on pin placements, wind direction and club selection. Now the one-time major winner is giving it as Henry’s caddie for this week’s PLAYERS Championship.
“I’ve always looked up to his work ethic and how he’s approached course management,” Henry said. “This course isn’t about how far to it, it’s about where to hit it. There’s probably nobody in the last 20 years who’s been so creative and articulate around these holes than him. For as good a career as he had, he never overpowered golf courses. He always worked his way around them, so to see that perspective is only going to help me.”
Brooks and Henry both live in Fort Worth, Texas, and for the past two years have talked about Brooks “helping a buddy out", as Henry put it. Scheduling often got in the way, but with the Champions Tour on a break for the next two weeks, the soon-to-be 51-year-old Brooks became available, replacing Henry’s regular caddie Pete Jordan.
Henry could certainly use the help. He’s missed seven cuts in 14 starts this season and in 10 trips to TPC Sawgrass has never finished better than 42nd and has only made it to the weekend three times.
“I just felt like he needed a change; no offense to any of his other caddies,” Brooks said. “It’s a little fresh perspective. The hope is he learns a few things that last. It’s not just picking a club, that’s not my objective.”
What Henry, whose lone victory came six years ago, has lacked in success he gains in experience with Brooks, who has seven career PGA TOUR wins, including the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla.
Brooks also played in 21 PLAYERS Championships with three career top 10s, including a career-best tie for seventh in 1997.
But it was Brooks’ approach as much anything that attracted Henry to him.
“He doesn’t sugarcoat in anything,” Henry said. “He’s got the jockey whip and is laying it on these couple of days. I’ve got my leather underwear on.”
Said Brooks: “I’m not going to say everything is perfect if it’s not because that’s not going to help him. That’s not going to help anyone. So many of these guys’ psyches are so fragile that if they don’t keep the confidence up, it’ll be a disaster. And a lot of the confidence is artificial anyway.”
It should be a learning experience for Brooks, too. The last time he caddied was in 1982 when he was on Willie Wood’s bag for a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier.
“Best caddie he ever had he told me,” Brooks said.
Wood went on to qualify for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach that year.
“I’ve watched teachers come and go, players come and go and caddies come and go,” said Brooks, who added this likely won’t be the last time he’s on Henry’s bag. “I learned from the older players. When I came out as a kid in ‘93, it was the David Grahams and Hubert Greens and Fuzzy Zoellers and Chi Chis and Seves. You went and sought out guys that did certain things well and they helped you out. No one had a traveling entourage like they have these days.”
Henry is doing the same with Brooks.
“Regardless of how I play this week, just some of stuff he’s showed me in a tournament atmosphere can go a long way and get me back on the right path,” Henry said. “I’m looking forward to letting his knowledge of the place help make me decisive to hit shots as opposed to having to figure it out and then hit the shot.”
“He doesn’t care what people think. He’s taking it seriously.”
That was evident on the third hole Wednesday when Brooks asked this reporter to step back as Henry worked on a chip shot just off the green. They had work to do, and a lot of it.
EDISON, N.J. – Jonathan Byrd has joined Harrison Frazar and J.J. Henry in the lead at 5 under after making his third straight birdie at the 11th hole.
Byrd, who entered the Playoffs ranked 24th, started the spurt with a 13-footer at the ninth hole and followed it with a putt of 26 feet. The South Carolinian also made a birdie and a bogey on the front nine before getting back into red numbers with a 12-footer for eagle at the fifth hole.
Byrd got his 2011 season off to a great start when he beat Robert Garrigus in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He was also in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship but that time his former college teammate Lucas Glover ended up getting the victory.
EDISON, N.J. – Nick Watney, who entered the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup ranked No. 1, has just become the 11th player to birdie the driveable 18th hole.
Watney hit his drive short and right of the green on the 285-yard par 4. He then chipped on and made a 13-footer for birdie to move to 2 under.
Meanwhile, Harrison Frazar, who picked up his first PGA TOUR victory earlier this year, has made birdie at the par-5 12th hole, rolling in a 16-footer, to move into a tie for the lead with J.J. Henry at 5 under.
Adam Scott also was in that group but he missed the green at the par-3 third, his 12th hole of the day and couldn’t get up and down for par. So he’s tied with Vijay Singh and Ryan Palmer at 4 under.
CROMWELL, Conn. -- When J.J. Henry won the Travelers Championship in 2006, the victory sparked a career year for the Connecticut native, who also made the Ryder Cup team that year.
Henry has a long way to go to get back to that point, but he took a good step Saturday, shooting a third-round 65 to get to 10 under with one round to play.
On the day, Henry hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation on his way to 27 putts on what’s been a still very receptive course in terms of scoring. In all, Henry had six birdies and just one bogey.
“The greens are still soft,” Henry said. “It will be a putting contest.”
And a shootout. At the moment, there are 21 players within four shots of the lead, including Henry.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- There are 18 players within three shots of the lead about midway through the third round here at TPC River Highlands. That lead, by the way, is now held by Bryce Molder, who just made the turn in 4 under to get to 13 under for the week, and Fredrik Jacobson, who birdied No. 10. Two others, including amateur Patrick Cantlay, are a shot back.
Another stroke back from there? J.J. Henry, the Connecticut native who won this tournament in 2006, and three others.
As for Cantlay, the 19-year-old amateur just hasn’t been able to get anything going -- certainly not like he did in the second round when he carded a 60. Through eight holes, he has one bogey and seven pars.
Part of the problem for Cantlay? Putting. He’s missed three from inside 10 feet today.
BETHESDA, Md. – A man who has never played the weekend at a U.S. Open is setting the pace midway through the morning half of the draw.
Ryan Palmer, who missed the cut at the U.S. Open in 1998 and 2007, has yet to make a bogey in the first round. The Texan started on the front, as have the majority of the players at the top of the leaderboard, and has completed 11 holes in 3 under.
Giving chase are several major champions, including Graeme McDowell, who is defending the title he won a year ago at Pebble Beach. He’s tied at 1 under along with 2009 British Open champ Stewart Cink, 2009 PGA champ Y.E. Yang and Davis Love III, who won the 1997 PGA.
Also at 1 under are Chez Reavie, who is playing his 18th hole; J.J. Henry and Jason Day. The group at even par includes three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and Louis Oosthuizen, who will defend his British Open title next month at Royal St. George’s.
Phil Mickelson, who has finished second at the U.S. Open five times, is among the afternoon starters. The birthday boy – Mickelson turns 41 today -- tees off No. 10 in the day’s Featured Group with Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jerry Kelly paid off his Rose Bowl bet to J.J. Henry on Wednesday, wearing TCU's SuperFrog mascot suit to play the first hole in his pro-am at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Kelly, a Madison, Wisc., resident, had bet Henry, who graduated from TCU, that Wisconsin would win the Rose Bowl. TCU won 21-19, and Henry collected on his bet Wednesday. TCU coach Gary Patterson joined the twosome in their pro-am group.
Had Wisconsin won, Henry would have had to wear the mascot suit of the Badgers.
Here's a look at Kelly after he took a few practice putts in the SuperFrog suit.
J.J. Henry has an exciting week planned at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
On Tuesday, the Henry House Foundation, which Henry started in 2006, will join with the Jewel Charity to present a $300,000 check to Cook Children's Hospital. The money will fund the development of the Henry House Teen Room for patients there.
In addition, another $50,000 donation will be made to The First Tee of Fort Worth on Saturday as part of the Henry House Foundation's on-going efforts to build the Ben Hogan Learning Center there.
Those two opportunities to help children in the Fort Worth area will make Henry's heart feel good. But what happens on Wednesday is sure to tickle his funny bone.
Henry went to school at Texas Christian University, which is within walking distance of Colonial, and now makes his home in Fort Worth. So he made a wager on the Rose Bowl with Jerry Kelly, who was born and still lives in Madison, Wis.
Thanks to TCU's 21-19 victory over the Badgers, Kelly must wear the Super Frog mascot's costume on Wednesday prior to the pro-am. If you're there, look for Kelly's best frog impersonation on the putting green around noon CT.
At 12:20 p.m CT, Henry will play with TCU football coach Gary Patterson in the Crowne Plaza Invitational Pro-Am. He's hoping Kelly will play the first hole with them -- wearing the Super Frog costume.
"We want to get lots of pictures and make him wear it for 20 or 25 minutes," Henry told Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Jerry is being a great sport about it. It's going to be great."