2022 Mayakoba leaderboard, grades: Russell Henley cruises to win at World Wide Technology Championship

The 2022-23 PGA Tour season could be shaping up to be a year of redemption after Russell Henley successfully claimed his fourth career victory at the 2022 World Tech Championship at Mayakoba. Following in the footsteps of Keegan Bradley and Mackenzie Hughes, Henley’s triumph at El Camaleon Golf Course snapped a five-year drought from the winner’s circle and marked his first lift of the 2017 Houston Open trophy.

Ending the week at 23 under, Henley not only snapped his unbeaten streak but also many scoring records along the way. Both the 36-hole and 54-hole records fell at Mayakoba earlier in the week and eventually gave way to Henley also holding the tournament scoring record – matching Victor Hovland’s total of 23 in 2021.

For Henley, this week in Mexico, where his performance finally matched his fine iron play and accurate driving, was more than overdue. Ranking second, sixth and third in strokes gained over the past three seasons on the PGA Tour, Henley has experienced his fair share of heartbreaking and heartbreaking moments in the final stages of tournaments.

Earlier this year, Henley entered the 2022 Sony Open weekend in complete control of his game. Playing the final 36 holes in 8-under, the Georgia graduate was trailed by Hideki Matsuyama through herculean efforts that included back-to-back rounds of 7-under 63.

Falling in a playoff at Waialae Country Club just months earlier, Henley missed extra holes altogether in the 2021 Wyndham Championship. Leading by three strokes entering the final round, the 33-year-old had four bogeys on the back nine, including one on his 72nd hole, a three-putt score from 25 feet.

“I just tried to learn from my past and my mistakes,” Henley said. “That’s something I’ve taken from the last two events I’ve played since the start of this season and just trying to learn what I’m doing wrong and how I can improve on it. All these events that I have not closed, they hurt. You don’t know if you’ll ever be able to win another one. It’s so hard here. To go down on 18 with a four-shot lead was really cool. It’s still just… I don’t even know what to say.”

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Those moments of pain only make that moment of joy at Mayakoba that much deeper and that much more meaningful, as Henley entered the event having failed to convert his last five 54-hole leads into wins.

The consistency with which Henley has managed to put himself in this position should be applauded, but consistency is hardly rewarded in the game of golf without the accompaniment of hardware, especially on the PGA Tour. With such a strong tee-to-green presence – almost Bradley-like – it really does make the mind wander to imagine what this win will do for Henley’s confidence and whether this streak of his can translate into even more titles.

The First Cut podcast team is back to bring you their recap of the World Tech Championship at Mayakoba. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

From 2013-18, Henley was one of the top players on the PGA Tour before completely failing with the putter in hand. While Henley has struggled over the past few seasons with the flat rod, his victory at the 2022 World Tech Championship illustrates just what he’s capable of when this club works together.

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A non-major champion – despite a 54-hole lead at the 2021 US Open – and a non-participant in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups for the United States, conventional wisdom and the sheer depth of the PGA Tour suggest no change in 2023. But don’t be surprised , if the season of the major championship comes, or the time comes for Zach Johnson to make his choice of captain for Rome, if there is no time when Henley’s name is not at least brought up in conversation. Grade: A+

Here are the ratings for the rest of the Mayakoba 2022 World Tech Championship standings.

T3. Scotty Scheffler (-18): After a quiet fall, Scheffler lit up the course at Mayakoba on Sunday with a 9-under 62 and the round of the week at the Mayakoba Tech World Championship. It’s what we’ve come to expect from him at the start of the year, and even though he didn’t win, his finish made it easy to imagine how he’ll tackle 2022-2023. Grade: A-

“I feel good, the game is good,” he said. “I hit it well this week except for a couple of, you know, bad putts. And a few things went my way, a few more shots went in, I could have been right in the tournament, but obviously Russell is playing great golf right now and hopefully he’ll just keep cruising.”

T15. Colin Morikawa (-15): Morikawa posted his best finish of the fall this week at Mayakoba, and it coincided with him working with a new pitching coach. More interestingly, he turned to analyst Trevor Imelman again after Imelman suggested that Morikawa is struggling a bit because of how difficult it is to live up to the ridiculously high standard he set for himself early in his career by winning so often (including two of his first eight majors). Morikawa’s response was… kind of weird.

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“Wow, that’s hard to hear from him,” Morikawa told Golf Channel. “I don’t care what he says there because I don’t think it’s my bar. I think I still have a lot to improve. I was almost last to place. I don’t think I even finished close to an average score. If I can just get my shot to be average, I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I don’t know where this comes from, but it annoys me. I don’t want to hear that.

“I don’t know if that was a compliment, I’ll be honest. If it did, it might have come out wrong from what I heard. For me, I never saw a ceiling. I just want to keep improving. We obviously took a few steps back this year. We just try to get better every day and try to improve little things. I expect to play well. I set really high goals for myself. It just sucks when they don’t come through.”

This must be a misunderstanding because Immelman was in no way trying to insult Morikawa. He was just saying that early career high bars are hard to come back from, which is true. Morikawa’s response was not commensurate with Immelman’s attitude toward him. Grade: B+

T10. Victor Hovland (-16): It wasn’t the triple-peat Hovland had envisioned, but Hovland had already posted scores of 67-69-63-65-67-65-62-67-65-69-66-68 over the past three years at Mayakoba and lost on nine out of 393 contestants in that time period. This is, of course, absurd. Grade: B-


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