Titleist Brand Ambassador Russell Henley (Pro V1x) fired a sizzling 7-under-par 65 on Sunday en route to a 20-under-par 268 victory total at the final staging of the Shell Houston Open (Shell served 26 years as title sponsor).
Henley, who trailed runner-up and Titleist golf ball loyalist Sung Kang (Pro V1x) by four shots entering the final round, carded 10 birdies to win by three shots. He made five birdies through his first eight holes.
“I made 10 birdies today?” asked Henley after the last putt fell. “Oh, wow. Wow. Yeah, I would say it's definitely my best round. I felt very in control. I felt very nervous, but I felt very in control and very disciplined. It was good.”
Henley's four-day total tied the 72-hole scoring mark that was established in 2011.
Henley topped a leaderboard that included each of the top four finishers trusting Titleist golf balls for their success, including Rickie Fowler (Pro V1) and Luke List (Pro V1x), who tied for third, one shot behind Kang.
The win was Henley's third on the PGA Tour and his first since the 2014 Honda Classic.
It also earned him the final invite into this week’s Masters, his fourth in five seasons as a professional.
“I wasn't expecting to go back to Augusta,” Henley said, “but I was going to try my best to win. I started thinking about Augusta probably on like 15 or 16, and I just -- I knew that anything could happen, but I couldn't help but think about it. It excited me. The fact I get to go back is pretty cool. It's a cool experience. It hasn't really sunk in yet.”
ON PLAYING TITLEIST EQUIPMENT TEE-TO-GREEN
This marks the first season that Russell Henley has joined Titleist as a full-line Titleist Brand Ambassador. After his win in Houston, he shared some thoughts on trusting his game to the Pro V1x golf ball and a full bag of Titleist golf clubs.
“I feel like I've had a really consistent season so far. I missed my first cut at the Frys after making equipment change to Titleist and just wasn't really quite dialed in and comfortable with it yet. And as the fall went on, I got better and better with it, and this year I feel like I'm starting to get really comfortable with all the stuff and I feel like it's improved my game a lot, using all Titleist stuff. And that's been really, really great.”
Henley’s win comes in just his 7th start since making the switch.
“I am surprised,” Henley shared. “I think everybody probably is. I think the biggest (adjustment) was the driver and the ball -- but it wasn't a hard change. I play the Pro V1x. It's an incredible ball. It spins and flies very flat in the wind. The wind doesn't hit it much right to left or left to right. It took me awhile to trust it, because I feel like I didn't trust myself before and now I'm starting to realize this stuff is really good and if I'm aiming at something, I can trust it's going to go there, it's going to fly the way I want.
Let's take a closer look at the equipment that Russell Henley, Sung Kang, Rickie Fowler and Luke List trusted this week at the Shell Houston Open.
Russell Henley (Winner)
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: 917D2 (8.5°)
Fairway: 917F2 (15°)
Irons: T-MB (3) and 716 AP2 (4-9)
Wedges: Vokey Design SM6 46.08 F Grind pitching wedge, 50.08 F gap wedge, 54.10 S Grind sand wedge, 58.08 M Grind lob wedge
Putter: Scotty Cameron Tour Rat 2
Sung Kang (Runner-up): Pro V1x golf ball
Rickie Fowler (T3): Pro V1 golf ball
Luke List (T3): Pro V1x golf ball
TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball choice with 106 players trusting a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball for their success. That’s more than seven times the nearest competitor with 14 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist was also the top choice of players in the hybrids (27) and irons (50) categories. Vokey Design Wedges topped the approach, sand and lob wedge (191) category. Scotty Cameron putters were the top choice in the putter (63) category.
The win is the 10th for Titleist golf ball loyalists this season, more than twice the nearest competitor with 4.
• • •