Houston Open Golf

Charleston resident Russell Henley, who won the Houston Open last week to secure an invitation to the Masters, shot a 76 Friday at Augusta National. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

AUGUSTA – Russell Henley got off to a good start at the Masters on Friday with a birdie on the second hole, but gusting wind refused to allow more good numbers. The 27-year-old Charleston resident managed a 76 and will easily make the cut after a 71 on Thursday.

Like many players, he deserved better.

“I played really well,” Henley said. “I just didn’t get much out of it.”

Henley after Thursday’s round was tied for fourth place at six shots behind leader Charley Hoffman. He slipped into a tie for 19th place late Friday.

“On 11 I hit a bomb drive down the middle and then I hit a 7-iron right where I was looking and it flew about 15 yards farther than I thought it would,” Henley said of the 505-yard par 4 he bogeyed for the second day in a row. “It was just so hard to know the distance. At 16, I hit a 7-iron right on the flag and I made bogey from there.”

The former University of Georgia golfer didn’t get his Masters invitation until the last minute, with a come-from-behind win Sunday at the Shell Houston Open.

It was Henley’s third PGA Tour victory.

Henley’s best Masters finish in three previous Augusta visits was 21st in 2015.

Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff

Gene Sapakoff is a columnist and College Sports Editor at The Post and Courier.

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