PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Russell Henley made good on his second chance at the 18th hole Sunday and won the Honda Classic after a wild day that began with Tiger Woods walking off the course with a back injury and ended with a four-man playoff.
The closing hour at PGA National was a series of blunders by the contenders — and even by the winner, who finished at 8-under 272.
Henley was in a three-way tie for the lead, 40 yards left of the flag on the par-5 18th in regulation, when he chunked a chip so badly that it only got halfway to the hole. He had to two-putt for par, and then watched as Rory McIlroy nearly made a great escape from an otherwise bad afternoon. McIlroy, who lost a two-shot lead, hit a 5-wood from 236 yards to just inside 12 feet for a possible eagle and the win. It narrowly slid by on the right.
In the playoff, Henley was the only player to reach the 549-yard hole in two shots, and he two-putted from about 40 feet for a birdie. Ryan Palmer missed a 10-foot birdie putt. McIlroy had to scramble for a par and Russell Knox missed a 20-foot birdie attempt.
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“This isn’t going to sink in for a while,” Henley said.
Thousands of fans who spent hours in the warmth and wind of south Florida surely felt the same way.
Woods abruptly quit after 13 holes and was driven straight to his car. He later said he had lower-back pain and spasms, and was unsure if he could play this week at Doral.
Palmer missed a 5-foot par in regulation that would have won it. He closed with a 69, the only player in the last six groups to break par. Knox needed a birdie on the last hole, but he went from the fairway bunker to the rough, well over the green, and then made a par putt just inside 10 feet to get in the playoff.
The play was so underwhelming that McIlroy said that if he had won, “It would have felt undeserved in a way.”
The 24-year-old from Northern Ireland closed with a 74.
• Paula Creamer made a 75-foot eagle putt on the second hole of a playoff with Azahara Munoz to win the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore for her first LPGA Tour title since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.
Creamer’s downhill putt curled right to left across the 18th green. The American ran across the green, fell to her knees and put her head on the ground, laughing and pounding the grass.
Creamer matched Munoz at 10-under 278 on Sentosa’s Serapong Course. Australia’s Karrie Webb was a stroke back.
• England’s Ross Fisher won the Tshwane Open in Centurion, South Africa, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. Fisher finished at 2-under 268.