Sunday, May 8, 2011
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ATHENS -- University of Georgia senior Russell Henley, a native of Macon, became the second amateur winner in Nationwide Tour history Sunday, shooting a 3-under 68 for a two-stroke victory in the Stadion Classic on the Bulldogs' home course.
"I can't even feel my arms," Henley said. "I was nervous all day. I don't know how long it will take to sink in. Eight months? Nine months? A couple days? I don't know. I've never done this before."
The three-time All-America selection finished at 12-under 272 on the University of Georgia Golf Course.
Daniel Summerhays is the only other amateur winner since the tour began in 1990, taking the 2007 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in between his junior and senior seasons at BYU.
"Everyone was asking me about making the cut this week, but I've been telling people I was playing to win," said Henley, the low amateur in the U.S. Open last year at Pebble Beach with a 16th-place tie. "You play a lot of golf tournaments that you don't win, but just because I'm an amateur doesn't mean I can't win."
Henley will remain an amateur through the Walker Cup in September.
"They talk about how much money you can make playing pro golf, but I've never played golf to win money," said Henley, set to graduate Friday with a degree in Housing and Consumer Economics. "I love to play golf and I love to compete and there are a lot of amateur tournaments I want to play in."
Troy Kelly shot a 70 to finish second -- and take the $99,000 top prize.
Monday qualifier Will Wilcox (67) and Matt Hendrix (70) tied for third at 9 under.