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Road to The Players: It's a 'Dog World

From the Fringe
Russell Henley of St. Simons Island, Ga. made it four PGA Tour victories for University of Georgia graduates on Sunday when he won the Honda Classic.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Russell Henley of St. Simons Island, Ga. made it four PGA Tour victories for University of Georgia graduates on Sunday when he won the Honda Classic.

Woof.

A player who came through the golf factory at the University of Georgia (better known as the Chris Haack Academy ... he's the Georgia coach) won again on the PGA Tour. Russell Henley, also a member of the St. Simons Island, Ga., crew that could stock a pretty good Ryder Cup team, survived a four-way playoff on Sunday to win the Honda Classic, his second Tour title in two years.

Henley beat Rory McIlroy, former Jacksonville University golfer Russell Knox of Atlantic Beach and Ryan Palmer for the title at Palm Beach Gardens. McIlroy had one hand on the trophy but a late double-bogey gave him a 74 in regulation.

It's the fourth victory of the 2013-2014 season for a former UGa player. Bubba Watson won the Northern Trust Open last month and in the fall, Chris Kirk won the McGladrey Classic and Harris English won the OHL Classic.

That's four out of 15 events. The only other school to have multiple victories this season is Baylor -- only because Jimmy Walker has won three times.

Since 2010, Georgia players have won 10 times on the PGA Tour, led by Watson with five -- and the 2012 Masters. During the same span, former 'Dogs have won eight Web.com Tour events.

Henley was already in The Players Championship who has never been won by a Bulldog. By sheer numbers, the odds are getting better all the time.

One guy who isn't eligible yet who may have clinched a spot was Knox, who is now 19th on the FedEx Cup. If he makes the top-50 by April 27, he's in.

Last week: Henley shot 64 in the first round and went on to win the Honda Classic.

Henley at The Players: Missed the cut last year after a first-round 69.

Defending Players champion: Tiger Woods withdrew in the fourth round due to back spasms.

PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP TICKET INFORMATION AND WEB SITE

This week: World Golf Championship Cadillac Championship, Doral; Puerto Rico Open.

Players trivia: What is the best Players Championship finish by a former Georgia Bulldog (a UGa player has never won it).

Days until The Players first round: 66.

Tour events until The Players: 10.

Notable: Knox has three finishes of tied for 13th or better in his last four starts, twice finishing among the top-10. He would be the second JU golfer to win on the PGA Tour if he pulls one out. Donnie Hammond won twice.

Trivia answer: Chip Beck finished second by one shot to winner Tom Kite in the 1989 Players. Other notable finishes by former 'Dogs in The Players were Tim Simpson, who tied for third in 1986, five shots behind John Mahaffey; and Billy Kratzert, who tied for fifth in 1979, 10 shots behind Lanny Wadkins.

 

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