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January 13 2013

1:47 AM

Spotlight on rookies at Waialae


All eyes will be on rookies Russell Henley and Scott Langley on Sunday at Waialae. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

By Ann Miller, for PGATOUR.COM

HONOLULU — After he manhandled Waialae Country Club in a first-round 62 Thursday, Scott Langley waxed poetic on what drew him to the game of golf.

Langley, who shares the lead with fellow rookie Russell Henley going into Sunday’s final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii, spoke of his passion for competition and challenge.

“I love that it changes every day,” Langley said. “Hawaii is a great example. It can be really, really windy one day, it can be calm the next day, and new pins every day, different golf courses, different conditions. I love that you have to adapt.”

Langley also spoke glowingly about how golf is “a thinking man’s game.”

And then he became 23 again.

“But mostly when I was younger, it was a sport that I was the best at,” Langley shrugged. “I played basketball, I played soccer, I played baseball. I was too short for basketball, too slow for soccer, couldn’t throw hard enough for baseball, so went with golf.

“But it’s always been my greatest passion. So yeah, to this day, I had a blast out there.”

He and Henley, who won two of his last four Web.com Tour events last year to earn his card, are not shy about talking of perspective. It is what has kept them calm through three spectacular rounds in their debuts as TOUR members.

They set a tournament record Saturday, finishing together at 17-under 193, playing in the same group for the third straight day.

Sunday will be the fourth, as they tee off with 37-year-old Tim Clark in the final threesome. If Clark had not birdied the final hole, Scott Gardiner would have joined Henley and Langley in an all-rookie adventure.

The 23-year-olds know they will be nervous, but so far they have fought it off admirably, with refreshing perspective.

“It’s a fun dynamic competing against Russell because we’re such good friends,” Langley said. “We’ve known each other for so long. We’re pretty much in the same situation. He came off the Web.com Tour, I came out of Q-school. This is our first start as tour members.

“We kind of have that common bond out there, and you can see it, I think, when you see both of us play. We’re having fun, we’re smiling, we’re happy to be here. So I think that helps us play good. We’re definitely just excited about the opportunity and cherishing it.”

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