Date: March 03, 2014
Author: Michael Huguenin, Omnisport

Henley wins Honda Classic in play-off

Rory McIlroy missed out on the Honda Classic title after losing a four-way play-off to Russell Henley on Sunday.

The Northern Irish world number eight had led at the end of the opening three rounds in Florida but a four-over 74 saw McIlroy slump to eight under overall, allowing Henley, Ryan Palmer and Scotland's Russell Knox to join him at the top of the leaderboard.

On the opening play-off hole, Henley was the only player to reach the green in two shots, while Knox and McIlroy both had troubles with bunkers.

Palmer had a chip for eagle but left it around three metres short, while Henley rolled his eagle putt to within a metre, which gave him the upper hand.

The 24-year-old American then watched all three of his opponents miss attempts for birdie and after McIlroy sank a par putt, Henley made no mistake with his birdie opportunity to win just his second PGA Tour title.

Earlier on Sunday, world number one Tiger Woods withdrew after 13 holes, complaining of back spasms at five over for the day.

Woods produced four bogeys and a double bogey on the front nine.

"It's my lower back with spasms," Woods said in a statement.

"It started this morning warming up."

In a dramatic final round, Henley's two-over 72 at the PGA National (Champion) course at Palm Beach Gardens was enough for him to be involved in the play-off, while Palmer (one-under 69) and Knox (one-over 71) also finished on eight under.

Henley potentially could have won the tournament in regulation but for a double bogey on the par-three 15th, while McIlroy essentially threw away victory and then recovered to be a part of the play-off in the final three holes.

The 24-year-old Northern Irishman was at two over for the day when he teed off at the par-four 16th but a double bogey and a bogey left him at seven under for the tournament before a birdie on the 18th kept him alive.

McIlroy's final round included five bogeys and the double on 16th and he will surely wonder what might have been as his trophy drought since September 2012 continued.

Billy Hurley III claimed outright fifth at seven under, while David Hearn of Canada shot the equal-best round of the day – a three-under 67 – to finish tied for sixth a further shot back with Will MacKenzie.

Spain's Sergio Garcia, David Lingmerth of Sweden, Englishman Luke Donald and Stuart Appleby of Australia finished in a share of eighth at five under.