FedExCup Spotlight: Russell Henley
February 25, 2015
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM
- Russell Henley will defend his second, and most recent, TOUR title this week at PGA National. (J.D. Cuban/Getty Images)
Russell Henley, who is defending his second career TOUR title this week at The Honda Classic, is one of the TOUR's best players with the flatstick. When he's rolling it well, few can compare.
In winning the Sony Open in Hawaii -- his first start as a TOUR member -- he led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, picking up a whopping 12 shots on the field. Henley finished eighth on TOUR in the stat as a rookie. He fell outside the top 30 as a sophomore, but found some vintage form in the Playoffs when he led the Deutsche Bank Championship field in the statistic. That runner-up finish at TPC Boston propelled Henley to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time.
This season, the two-time TOUR winner is back inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Putting and is looking to build on a solid start that features two top-10 finishes (he finished his previous two seasons with three top 10s in each) and an early 35th-place position in the FedExCup standings.
Those top-10 finishes came in the form of a T4 at The McGladrey Classic where Henley led after 36 holes and a T3 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Overall, Henley is 6-for-6 against the cut this season with three top-25s. His last two results, however, have been his two worst of the campaign with a Sunday 78 at TPC Scottsdale and a Sunday 77 at Riviera putting a damper on two otherwise solid outings.
The friendly confines of PGA National could do just the trick for Henley, who had missed three of five cuts with no top-50 finishes in the weeks leading up to The Honda Classic.
"That win last year was big for my momentum, and big for me, as a second‑year player out here, (who) had not been playing too well to that point," he said. "So (it) jump‑started me and gave me a little bit of confidence, and ended up having a really nice year in my opinion … I'm just hoping that I can play well again."
Henley played well at The Honda Classic in his 2013 debut, as well. His T13 finish was his best showing of his next nine starts after winning at Waialae. If he's going to make a big FedExCup move in the early stages of the season, this is the place for it.
Moving forward this season, continued consistent play will be key. Henley's run of six consecutive made cuts is a career best. In his two previous seasons on TOUR, he's missed 19 cuts -- better than one-third of his starts. If Henley continues to make it to weekends, he will pile up the FedExCup points and be in position for a repeat trip to East Lake.
Inside the PGA TOUR
Russell Henley: No easy day
HENLEY'S FEDEXCUP FINISHES
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 44th 19th
• Henley has qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs in both of his seasons as a PGA TOUR member
• His best Playoffs finishes in seven starts both came last season when a T2 at the Deutsche Bank Championship lifted Henley into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, where he finished solo 12th.
• Henley has eight career top-10 finishes, notching three in both 2013 and 2013-14 and two in the early stages of this season.
• He won in his first starts as a TOUR member at the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii and went on to win rookie of the year honors that year
• Henley is one of just 10 TOUR pros to claim titles in both the 2013 and the 2013-14 seasons.
HENLEY'S RESULTS AT THE HONDA CLASSIC, FEDEXCUP STANDINGS
Year FedExCup before Honda result Points earned FedExCup after 2014 137th WON 500 16th 2013 7th T13 56.40 3rd