PGA Tour rookies Russell Henley and Scott Langley get to play one more round together at the Sony Open in Honolulu. There will be a lot more on the line today.
Henley two-putted from 30 feet for birdie on the last hole Saturday for a 3-under 67, allowing him to match Langley, who had to settle for a par and a 65. They broke the tournament scoring record through 54 holes at 17-under 193.
Better yet, they had a three-shot lead over Tim Clark.
At stake today is a trophy, the customary lei draped around the neck and an invitation to the Masters.
If the third round was any indication, Clark and everyone else will have to chase them down. The 23-year-old rookies never flinched on a warm afternoon with only a mild breeze on a Waialae Country Club that was ripe for low scores.
Langley made seven birdies to offset a pair of bogeys. Henley has been steadier, and he carries a streak of 43 holes without a bogey into the final round.
They each have a chance to become the first rookies to win in their PGA Tour debut since Garrett Willis in the 2001 Tucson Open.
“The Vegas odds on me winning were probably not very good,” said Langley, not a betting man himself. “I hope somebody bet on me and I make him a lot of money.”
Henley looked relaxed when he finished his round and thinks he’s playing with house money. After all, it’s his first tournament of the year and he already has a chance to win.
“It’s already been a successful week,” he said. “Win or lose, I’m not too stressed about it.”
Henley and Langley shared low amateur honors at Pebble Beach in the 2010 U.S. Open, and then became fast friends by flying together to Northern Ireland for the Palmer Cup. They were thrilled to be playing together for their rookie debut in the opening two rounds.
Neither had any idea they would still be together going into the final round. Nobody has been able to catch them.
And if not for Clark, it would have been even more pronounced. Clark made a birdie on the last hole that put himself in the final group.
Otherwise, that spot would have been occupied by Scott Gardiner of Australia, who had a 64 and was four shots behind.
Charles Howell III, twice a runner-up at the Sony Open, had a 67 and also was four behind.
Seven players were within five shots of the lead, which included Monday qualifier Danny Lee and Pat Perez, whose goal to have a more positive attitude was severely tested on the final hole when he missed a 40-inch birdie putt. Perez still had a 67 and was at 12-under 198.
SCOT LEADS IN AFRICA
Scott Jamieson of Scotland had a 4-under 68 and took a five-shot lead in the Volvo Champions, while Louis Oosthuizen faded in the third round at Durban Country Club in South Africa.
Jamieson began the round a stroke behind the former British Open champion, but finished with a 15-under total to lead Oosthuizen (74), Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (73) and Julien Quesne of France (67).
Padraig Harrington (67) and Francesco Molinari (68) were another two strokes back in the event for European Tour winners.
Jamieson won his first European Tour title a month ago in the season-opening Nelson Mandela Championship. Now he’s one round away from earning the “Durban Double.”
Tracking local golfers on the PGA Tour
This week: Sony Open, finishing today, Waialae Country Club, Honolulu.
In the field: Olympia’s Andres Gonzales, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore and Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley.
Stanley’s third-round score: 2-under-par 68.
Position: Stanley (4-under 206) is tied for 51st, 13 strokes behind co-leaders Russell Henley and Scott Langely (17-under 193). Moore and Gonzales missed the cut Friday in the PGA Tour’s first full-field event of the season.
Recap: That makes it back-to-back under-par rounds for the Bellarmine Prep graduate who played in college at Clemson. He has now made just one bogey in his past 37 holes. Stanley’s birdie-making binge ignited midway through the round at No. 16 (pitching wedge approach to 51/2 feet), No. 17 (6-iron tee shot to 14 feet) and No. 18 (up-and-down for birdie from 15 yards behind the green on the par-5 finishing hole).
Tee time today: 1:20 p.m. PDT off the 10th firstname.lastname@example.org