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Russell Henley holds on to win Mayakoba title

Sportsnaut
Aug 11, 2022; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Russell Henley watches his tee shot during the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship golf tournament at TPC Southwind. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Henley shot a 1-under 70 to polish off his fourth career PGA Tour victory Sunday at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Henley slept on a six-stroke lead and won the event at 23-under 261, four shots ahead of second-place Brian Harman. Henley’s 261 tied Norwegian Viktor Hovland for the tournament scoring record, which Hovland set last year.

Henley made his first bogey of the tournament at the par-5 fifth hole Sunday at El Camaleon Golf Club. He quickly responded with three straight birdies at Nos. 6-8 before playing the back nine in 1 over par.

Harman shot a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to get to 19 under but never truly threatened Henley.

“You always have doubts, ‘Am I going to win again?'” Henley said. “I’ve had a lot of tournaments where I haven’t gotten it done, so this one’s really special. To be leading by six, which is my largest 54-hole lead, I’m sure, and to just play solid today and get it done gives me a lot of confidence. I’m really excited, really thankful.”

Before Sunday, Henley was just 1-for-6 in converting a 54-hole lead or co-lead into a victory.

“I’ve just choked, you know,” Henley said. “The nerves have gotten to me, and I’ve made bad mistakes, bad mental mistakes and just haven’t gotten it done on Sunday. So put myself in position a decent amount, just haven’t gotten it done.

“So to come out and kind of do everything pretty well today tee to green and keep it pretty clean and just play steady was what was nice. I think — I don’t think I would have done it unless I had kind of failed so many times.”

Scottie Scheffler fired a 9-under 62 Sunday to shoot into a tie for third at 18 under. Scheffler will remain at No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking; he needed to win or place solo in second to wrest back the No. 1 ranking from Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who was idle.

Scheffler had a bogey-free card with an eagle 2 at the par-4 third accompanied by seven birdies.

“We had I think 108 (yards to the) pin,” the Masters champion said of his hole-out eagle. “There was nobody at the green, and I hit a good shot, and it looked like it landed close, but we couldn’t really see, couldn’t really hear anything, nobody was clapping or nothing. So when I got up there, I was like, ‘Oh, man, it must have spun off the green.’ Then I checked the cup and it was in.”

Scheffler and McIlroy are set up for a tight back-and-forth for the No. 1 ranking when the calendar turns to 2023.

“Rankings are great,” Scheffler said. “It was definitely fun being No. 1 in the world; it’s definitely something I hope to get back to, but it’s not something that’s going to occupy a lot of my thoughts.”

Scheffler was tied for third with Joel Dahmen (65 Sunday), Troy Merritt (67), Will Gordon (69) and Ireland’s Seamus Power (68).

–Field Level Media