February 21 2013
MARANA, Ariz. -- Russell Henley has a new nickname: "Mr. Bracket Buster."
That's exactly what the PGA TOUR rookie did to many fantasy golf fans when he upset Charl Schwartzel 1 up in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
"I've heard a lot of comments from people saying they expected him to win, and that gave me a little motivation for sure," Henley acknowledged. "But he's an outstanding player, obviously. Can't really not be a great player when you win the Masters."
Henley, who won his first start as a PGA TOUR member earlier this year in Hawaii, shook off a disappointing double bogey-bogey finish on Wednesday that eliminated his 2-up advantage. He came out Thursday and won the 12th hole with a par and the 13th with a birdie to regain that edge, then reeled off five straight pars to win the match.
Schwartzel did get one back with a 3-foot birdie at the 15th hole after a brilliant shot from a fairway bunker. But Henley, who played on the 2011 Walker Cup team, hung tough until the 18th hole.
"I tried not to get too up or down," Henley said. "TRhat was one of the biggest things mentally, just hang tough with an even keel. That's something I've worked on this whole year."