PGA Tour rookies Russell Henley and Scott Langley get to play one more round together at the Sony Open in Honolulu, this time with a lot more on the line.
Henley two-putted from 30 feet for birdie on the last hole Saturday for a 3-under-par 67, allowing him to catch up to Langley, who had to settle for a par and a 65. They broke the tournament scoring record through 54 holes at 17-under 193.
Better yet, they had a three-shot lead over Tim Clark.
At stake Sunday is a trophy, the customary lei draped around the neck and an invitation to the Masters.
Henley looked relaxed when he finished his round and still feels as though he’s playing with house money. After all, it’s his first tournament of the year and he already has a chance to win.
‘‘It’s already been a successful week,’’ he said. ‘‘Win or lose, I'm not too stressed about it.’’
If the third round was any indication, Clark and everyone will have to chase them down. The 23-year-old rookies never flinched on a warm afternoon with only a mild breeze on a Waialae Country Club that was ripe for low scores.
Langley made seven birdies to offset a pair of bogeys. Henley has been more steady, and he carries a streak of 43 holes without a bogey into the final round.
They each have a chance to become the first rookies to win in their PGA Tour debut since Garrett Willis in the 2001 Tucson Open.
The rookies have ruled along the shores of Oahu, and if not for Clark, it would have been even more pronounced. Clark made a birdie on the last hole that put him into the final group.
Otherwise, that spot would have been occupied by Scott Gardiner of Australia, who had a 64 and was four shots behind. Charles Howell III, twice a runner-up at the Sony Open, had a 67 and also was four behind.
Henley and Langley shared low amateur honors at Pebble Beach in the 2010 US Open, and then became fast friends by flying together to Northern Ireland for the Palmer Cup. They were thrilled to be playing together for their rookie debut in the opening two rounds.
Langley was two shots behind until a two-putt birdie on the ninth and a short birdie putt on the 10th to tie for the lead. He pulled ahead with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 13th, and after a three-putt bogey, regained the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th.