Russell Henley wins Shell Houston Open, earns spot at Masters

Georgia native Russell Henley booked the final spot in next week's Masters at Augusta by surging to victory in the Shell Houston Open on Sunday.

All eyes had been on Sung Kang this weekend, as he built a six-shot lead at the halfway point that still stood at three shots entering the final round. He birdied five of his first eight holes and by the time he was done his double-bogey from a bunker at the par-three ninth was barely a blip in his round. Sometimes that streaky nature can lead to a run of six missed cuts in seven starts, like he experienced at the beginning of previous year, and sometimes it can lead to three straight rounds of 63, which Henley shot en route to victory in his very first start as a rookie in 2013.

Henley has played 13 consecutive rounds on the Golf Club of Houston course under par, starting with a closing 66 in 2014, when he tied for seventh, eight under par and seven shots back of victor Matt Jones.

"I just told myself to bear down, no matter whether I was winning or losing", said Henley, whose 20-under total of 268 tied the 72-hole scoring record established by Phil Mickelson in 2011. As a result, he only made two birdies and cancelled them out with two bogeys. "I just made some dumb mistakes that easily could have been avoided", Fowler said. "I've been trying not to think about it today but obviously it went through my head".

Consistency hasn't exactly been a strong suit for Henley, 27, now in the midst of his fifth season on Tour.

Fowler, whose third-round charge was derailed by a bogey, double-bogey finish on Saturday, fell out of contention with a double bogey and a bogey in his first four holes.

Rickie Fowler and Luke List shared third at 16 under.

And no one could stop Russell Henley from storming to victory at the Golf Club of Houston.

The tournament still appeared Kang's to lose as players teed off in groups of three, from two tees early on Sunday, due to a threatening weather forecast. He's been putting really well since the last few days, and then I haven't been putting really well, not like the first two rounds.

Henley didn't expect to be making the drive down Magnolia Lane this year, and was still coming to terms with his change of plans after his final round in Houston.

He had five birdies, including three on the back nine, but by that time Henley was out of reach.

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