With three New Englanders vying for a PGA Tour title on Sunday, J.J. Henry was perhaps the most improbable of the group to find himself near the top of the Byron Nelson Championship leaderboard. But after an ace on the par-3 fifth hole and a brief stint on Sunday as the front-runner, that’s exactly where the 37-year-old from Fairfield, Conn., found himself when the final putt dropped, as Henry finished tied for third place at 9-under — just two shots back of winner Jason Dufner.
Boston’s James Driscoll was next, at 3-under, as Keegan Bradley knocked himself out of contention with a triple-bogey at the par-4 11th — the same hole he tripled in Saturday’s third round. Bradley limped in with a 2-over 72 and closed out an successful defense of his Byron Nelson crown at 2-under for the week.
As for Henry, who posted all four rounds at TPC Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, in the 60s (68, 68, 67, 68), the Fort Worth resident was on his way to his second tour victory when he used a wedge on the fifth hole to card his second hole-in-one of the season and third of his career. Then came the par-3 17th, when he flew the green with a 7-iron, three-putted for double-bogey, and watched his one-stroke edge become a two-shot deficit.
Suddenly, Henry’s one-stroke advantage was a two-shot deficit.
“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Henry said. “I played great all day, and to be honest, thought I had a great shot on 17. I hit the line exactly where I tried to, and it carried about six or seven yards too far.”
Still, Henry was philosophical about a missed opportunity to grab his first tour victory since he won the 2006 Buick Championship.
“It’s disappointing, but that’s golf,” he said. “You take the good with the bad.”WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?