Henley wins Honda with playoff birdie

Russell Henley claimed his second PGA Tour victory with a two-putt birdie to win a four-man playoff on the first extra hole after Rory McIlroy collapsed in the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The 23-year-old Henley, who joined McIlroy (six) and Patrick Reed (two) as the only current players under the age of 25 with two victories on the circuit, closed with an even-par 72 and his birdie beat McIlroy, Russell Knox of Scotland and Ryan Palmer, who all made par in the playoff.

“I don’t know what’s going on, I was so nervous down the stretch,” said Henley, who won the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii by closing with five consecutive birdies. “I was just trying to hang in there. It’s hard for me to even sleep when I’m on the leaderboard. I enjoy the rush.

“This is huge. It’s not going to sink in for a while.”

McIlroy, try to win the tournament for the second time in three years, held a three-stroke lead after carding two birdies on his first five holes in the final round, but played an 11-hole stretch in 6-over, including a double-bogey 6 when he hit into the water on No. 16.

Rory needed a birdie on the final hole of regulation to get into the playoff and actually had a chance to win after two brilliant shots on No. 18, but missed an 11-foot eagle putt to finish with a 74.

Palmer, who has won three times on the PGA Tour but not since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii, shot 69, but missed a five-foot putt for par on the final hole of regulation that would have given him his fourth victory.

Knox, who has won four times as a pro including the 2011 Chiquita Classic on what is now the Buy.com Tour, birdied two of the first three holes in the final round but did not make another, closing with a 71 that included a double-bogey 6 when he hit into the water on the 14th hole.

Billy Hurley III had a final-round 69 to finish solo fifth, one shot out of the playoff, and David Hearn of Canada shot 67 to tie for sixth, another stroke behind, with Will MacKenzie, who came in with 70.

Tiger Woods, who started the day in a tie for 17th after a 65 in the third round, was 5-over-par for the day when he withdrew after 13 holes because of back spasms.

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