Russell Henley left Waialae Country Club in 2013 with the hardware. This week, he’s in position to do the same thing.
Maybe he’s feeding off his Georgia Bulldogs taking down the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship game.
“Alabama is just so good. I don’t really look forward to it that much. I kind of dread watching the game against them,” Henley said of the matchup. “They’re all so good. It was just awesome. I mean, Georgia really came ready to play and got one, so it was exciting.”
Henley started with a birdie on his opening hole, the 10th, then had a stretch of five straight pars before putting a square on the scorecard at the 16th (his seventh). However, an eagle on the par 5 18th was a nice bounce-back and he turned with a 2-under 33.
After making a bogey on the first, his 10th, he would play the remainder of his round 6-under which included another eagle on his last hole of the day.
Russell Henley celebrates after making his eagle putt on the ninth hole during the second round of the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
“I mean, I’ve won three times, so not many tournaments I get to say I’m a past champ, so pretty cool,” Henley said when asked about starting the calendar year at a course he’s won at before. “Place hasn’t changed with the clubhouse and everything. Have a lot of really good memories, so, yeah, it’s a cool start to the year for sure.”
When asked about looking forward to the rest of the year, the Bulldog is just focused on this week.
“I don’t know how important it is. I think out here you just have to try to capitalize when you’re playing well. But there is a lot of golf to be played throughout the year. We play so much golf. And so I’m really just trying to be consistent overall and just stay patient and not wear myself out worrying about it so much.”
Four shots behind Henley sits Matt Kuchar, winner of the 2019 Sony Open. Kuchar fired a 65 on Friday, one shot worse than his opening round of 64.
“Yeah, another good day. Probably felt in more control yesterday than today, but found a good number of fairways,” the nine-time PGA Tour winner said of his round. “When I did miss I tended to have shots, was fortunate. But started out I think eight straight pars and put on a good run. I think the front nine here is more gettable than the back nine is, and that’s kind of the way it played out for me today.”
Matt Kuchar hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the 2022 Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
His triumph at Waialae three years ago is Kuchar’s last win on Tour. He’s off to a great start to the season, making the cut in each of his first five starts with no finish worse than T-37.
He’ll need a low one tomorrow if he hopes to catch Henley.