AUGUSTA – For the second straight day, Macon’s Russell Henley shook off a tough hole to shoot a solid round at the Masters.
After a double-bogey on the first hole Saturday, Henley rebounded with four birdies on the front nine and finished with an even-par 72. He sits at 2 under after rounds of 68-74 the first two days in his third appearance at Augusta National Golf Club.
“I played pretty good. I left a couple out there for sure,” Henley said. “I still hit it great and felt like I made good decisions. A couple of more putts go in on the back, and I would have had a pretty nice round.
“So I hung in there pretty good.”
He certainly did after a tough start.
Henley four-putted the first hole for the double-bogey but then had birdies on the second, fifth, seventh and eight holes before a bogey on the ninth. He had two bogeys on the back nine – Nos. 10 and 18 – and parred the other seven holes on the back.
“I putt, I miss. I putt, I miss. I putt, I miss. I putt, I make,” Henley said of the first hole. “That’s about it.”
Henley missed the cut in his first appearance in the Masters in 2013, and he finished tied for 31st last year. He has a good shot to surpass last year’s finish in Sunday’s final round.
He is tied for 21st and will tee off at 1 p.m. with Charl Schwartzel. Four of his nine rounds at Augusta National have been par or better.
Henley's best finish at a major is a tie for 16th at the U.S. Open as an amateur in 2010. He has not had a top-20 finish at a major as a pro.
“I’m in a spot now where I could shoot a couple over or 10 over or 10 under, it’s not going to make well, 10 under would make a difference,” Henley said. “But 10 over won’t make a difference. I want to try to finish as high I can, so I probably need to try to be more aggressive if I get the chance.
“I’m guessing (Sunday) the pins are going to be pretty tough, so it’s going to be pretty hard to be aggressive, but if I get the chance I’m going to try to be a little more aggressive.”