Henley sails to three-stroke lead in Las Vegas
(Reuters) - American Russell Henley carded a flawless five-under-par-67 victory to Saturday's CJ Cup, which saw an elite field between him and his first PGA Tour title in the three-and-a-races stands to gain a lead of three strokes - half a year.
Henley, who pocketed a 22-foot putt to 10 for one of his five birdies of the day, told reporters he had struggled with his confidence in recent years but was calm and completely under control at Shadow Creek Golf Course after putting his work into converting his golf short game.
"I putted really well. I left myself in some good spots to do some birdies and had some really nice par pares and got mixed up well. I've done a lot of good things," said Henley, who is in had two rounds only two bogeys.
The 31-year-old, who drew 27 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last week, had three consecutive birdies on the last nine and said he hopes to keep the momentum going in the finals.
"You can go down here, the greens are great and it will be good, but you have to play well to do that. You have to do everything well," he added. "I just have to keep my head down and play a good round for myself."
The tournament, which is usually part of the PGA Tour's Asian swing, has been relocated to Las Vegas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and features a crowded field of top talent warming up for the Masters next month, including Justin Thomas ( Number three in the world) (68) and the reigning PGA championship winner Collin Morikawa (71), who was five and six strokes away from the lead.
Four-time PGA Tour winner Xander Schauffele, who led the pack, slipped down the rankings after a disappointing two-over-par-74 win and shared second place with American compatriot Talor Gooch (69), Jason Kokrak ( 68). and Lanto Griffin (66).
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by William Mallard)
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