The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

March 3, 2014

A surprise win for Russell Henley

(Continued)

— Henley chipped in for birdie on the 14th hole to tie for the lead. On his next shot, his 6-iron sailed well right of the par-3 15th green and into the water for a double bogey. He closed with three pars, though one of them contributed mightily. From a tough lie in thick grass, he smashed a 4-iron over the water to two-putt range on the 16th.

— McIlroy was in control until he took too much sand with a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker on the 16th hole, and he knew it. He pressed the shaft of his club against the back of his neck as the ball descended into the lake, leading to double bogey. Then, he fell out of the lead for the first time when he made bogey from the back bunker on the par-3 17th, missing an 8-foot par putt.

Needing a birdie on the 18th for a chance at a playoff, McIlroy showed his stuff. He belted a 5-wood from 236 yards and clapped his hands together when it dropped 12 feet from the hole. And when Henley messed up his chip, McIlroy had that eagle putt for the win.

It was just wide to the right. He never got a better chance. He shot 74.

"Seventy-four today wasn't good enough to get the job done," McIlroy said. "Even if I had won, it would have felt a little bit undeserved in a way. So when you go out with a two-shot lead, you have to play well and you have to go out and win the thing. And if I had won today, I would have counted myself very lucky. Just got to pick myself up, get back at it and try and get myself into contention at Doral next week and try and get the job done."

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