Honda Classic: Russell Henley comes through four-man play-off to win in Florida
Russell Henley came through a four-man play-off to win the Honda Classic after an extraordinary finish on Sunday.
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK
Last Updated: 04/03/14 12:00pm
Henley saw off Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox with a birdie at the first extra hole - the par-five 18th - to emerge as the last man standing on a dramatic day in Florida.
Heading into the final round with a two-shot lead, the title looked McIlroy's to lose after a solid start, but the Northern Irishman (74) began to unravel after a bogey at the seventh and would go on to drop five further shots before producing a clutch birdie at the 72nd hole to make the play-off.
Indeed, McIlroy had the chance to claim an unlikely victory on the final green after a quite sensational second from 245 yards left him around 12-15 feet for eagle.
But he would miss the putt meaning he finished on eight-under alongside Palmer (69), Knox (71) and Henley (72).
All four men struggled down the infamous closing stretch, the 'Bear Trap', with Henley - who chipped in for birdie at 14 - making a double-bogey at 15 after finding water, only to then see playing partner McIlroy do the same at the very next hole.
Indeed, it was Palmer who had the best chance to win in regulation as he missed a five-foot putt for par on the last green that would have seen him into the clubhouse at nine-under.
As it was he missed, Knox soon held a nerveless par-putt of his own to join him at eight-under, before McIlroy and Henley made birdie and par respectively to add their names to the play-off.
Going down 18 for a second time, Henley was the only man to find the green in two with McIlroy going over the putting surface and into a bunker.
He was unable to get up-and-down after his third trundled off the green, while Palmer and Knox both missed mid-length birdie putts.
That left Henley a relatively simple two-putt for the title and the 24-year-old duly obliged to secure his second win on the PGA Tour, following his success at the Sony Open last season.
A delighted Henley said afterwards: "I was so nervous coming down the stretch, just hang in there and try to enjoy every step.
"The crowd today was nothing like I've ever experienced and I wish I could play in front of a crowd like that every day. This isn't going to sink in for a while!"
Earlier, world number one Tiger Woods withdrew after 12 holes of his final round due to back pain. Woods shot 65 on Saturday to move into contention but was five-over for his final round when he called it quits.