By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Russell Henley, who won last week's Sony Open in Hawaii in his first start as a PGA TOUR member, didn't hesitate when asked who are the other young players he finds impressive.
The 23-year-old's first choice was Rory McIlroy. Tell us someone we don't know, a reporter suggested. So Henley picked his former Georgia teammate, Harris English.
And English, who tied for ninth last week at Waialae, is lending credence to his friend's words during the first round of the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. He was briefly tied for the lead and now sits in a big group at 4 under, one stroke behind Bobby Gates.
Also tied at 4 under are Jeff Maggert, Jesper Parnevik, Martin Laird, Joey Snyder III, Jason Kokrak, Stephen Ames, Jerry Kelly, Fabian Gomez and Patrick Cantlay. English has played 10 holes on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West.
Henley is from Macon, Ga. while English grew up in Valdosta. Both graduated from Georgia in 2011 with a degree in consumer economics. Henley won twice on the Web.com Tour last year while English picked up one victory in 2011.
"I've been playing golf against him since I was 11," Henley said. "And he's just very, very impressive physically, obviously hits the ball a long way, and he can shoot low scores. He shot 62 last week on Saturday, finished top 10. He's playing great. Been playing great for a long time now.
"And physically what he can do with the golf ball is probably the most impressive I've seen. And mentally he's always impressed me. His perspective and his competitiveness and his toughness is just very impressive to me. I think that you're going to be seeing a lot of him for a long time.