AUGUSTA – Russell Henley saved his best Masters round and most dramatic shot for Sunday: 185 yards into the No. 5 hole on the fly for an eagle 2. The 7-iron shot bent the cup so much that Augusta National officials had to replace it before Henley’s playing partner Pat Perez was allowed to putt.
The final-round 69 put Henley, a Charleston resident, at 1 under for the Masters and earned a tie for 11th place. Players in the top 12 (and ties) get an automatic Augusta invite in 2018.
“It was fun to hole out on No. 5,” Henley said. “I didn’t think I hit the ball really well (Sunday) – a little sloppy with my swing, a little loose. But I’m happy with the way I putted. I hung in there and gave it my best shot.”
The idea on No. 5 was a second shot just short of the hole, Henley said.
“I guess the wind pushed it a little bit,” he said. “I’m not really sure what happened, but I’ll take it.”
Henley, a University of Georgia graduate who turns 28 on Wednesday, shot 71-76-71 the first three rounds. He qualified for his fourth Masters just last week after rallying to win the Shell Houston Open.
Henley was looking forward to the RBC Heritage, starting Thursday on Hilton Head Island.
“One of my favorite tournaments,” he said.
William McGirt and Bill Haas, the other South Carolina residents in the Masters field Sunday, struggled late and early, respectively.
McGirt, a Wofford grad and Spartanburg resident, shot 74 Sunday with a double-bogey on No. 16 and a bogey on No. 18. McGirt, 37, finished 2 over for his first Masters.
Haas, the PGA Tour veteran from Greenville, opened with a double-bogey Sunday and shot 76 (75-72-71-76).
No. 1-ranked Dustin Johnson, the Columbia native and former Coastal Carolina golfer, withdrew from the Masters on Thursday with a back injury suffered during a fall down the stairs of his Augusta rental home Wednesday.
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