CJ Cup: Russell Henley sails to three-stroke lead in Las Vegas

Paola Ditto
Ottobre 18, 2020

Heading into the weekend four strokes back, Henley followed a 10-foot par-save at the third by holing from a similar distance to birdie the next, before getting up and down from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-five seventh.

Russell Henley opened the back nine with three straight birdies on his way to firing a five-under par 67 for a three-stroke lead after Saturday's third round of the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.

Henley sits at 15-under 201 overall after a bogey-free round.

Defending champion Justin Thomas, who won the event previous year on Jeju Island, shot a 66 and was tied for eighth with four others at six-under 138. It's a tough course, but if you hit good shots you can give your self some chances for birdie. "Some of those holes you're not really trying to birdie them, you're kind of just trying to leave yourself an uphill 35-footer and fortunately I made a couple of them", he said.

Henley's last victory was in 2017 at the Houston Open, where he came from four shots behind in the final round. Hopefully I can keep it going. "You've got to do everything well", he added.

"I have to keep playing my game, keep grinding it out, and make some putts".

Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain made a 10-foot eagle putt on No. 16 and is tied for 14th after a 68, while 11th-ranked Brooks Koepka, the 2018 CJ Cup champion, is tied for 18th after a 68, and 14th-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA stumbled to a 74 and is tied for 51st. "Obviously I was disappointed with bogeys", he said.

"I got off to a hot start and kind of slowed down". But the irons feel good and the putter feels great.

Griffin was within two of the lead until he closed his third-round 66 by finding water with his approach into the par-five last and made bogey, as Kokrak birdied two of his last three holes to join the group on 12 under.

After reaching the turn in 34, Henley drained a 25-footer at the 10th and made a tap-in birdie at the driveable next, with the three-time PGA Tour victor making a five-foot gain at the 12th and then finishing his blemish-free card with a run of pars.

"It was just a lot of bad breaks", he said. "Today was my bad day for the week, got it out of the way before Sunday, which is nice".

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