PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Russell Henley finally made a bogey, and that’s all that went wrong for him on Sunday as he closed with a 1-under 70 for a four-shot victory at the International Technology Championship in Mayacoba.
Henley, who lost a 6-shot lead heading into the final round at El Camaleon, cut the lead to three when he missed a 5-footer on the par-5 fifth hole.
He responded with three straight birdies, and no one came close the rest of the four shots.
Henley won for the fourth time on the PGA Tour and his first since the Houston Open five years ago.
The last five times Henley had at least a share of the 54-hole lead, he failed to convert the win. The most recent was the Sony Open in January, Hideki Matsuyama created a two-shot deficit and won the match.
“I’ve tried to learn from the past and the things I’ve struggled with,” Henley said with a smile. “All these events that I didn’t shut out hurt. You never know when you’re going to win another one. It was great to go down to 18 with a four-shot lead.”
Henley finished the season at 23-under 261. He came into the final round as the only player without a bogey all week.
Brian Harman finished tied for second with a 66, five shots behind him including Masters champion Scotty Scheffler and Ireland’s Seamus Power.
When Rory McIlroy won the CJ Cup two weeks ago, Scheffler lost his No. 1 ranking since March. Scheffler closed with a 62 in Mayakoba, giving him a good chance to regain the No. 1 ranking at the Houston Open next week.
McIlroy will not play again until the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Power’s 68, a tie for third place with Scheffler, Joel Dahmen, Troy Merritt and Will Gordon, vaulted the Irishman atop the FedEx Cup rankings to 29th in the world.
Henley moved up to No. 33 in the world and is set to return to the Masters. Last time, he didn’t secure a spot at Augusta National until he was in the top 50 the week before the Masters.
Henley lost his three-shot lead at the 2021 Wyndham Championship and the 2020 CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. Other times, he’s tied or led by one or two shots, which isn’t much of a lead on the PGA Tour.
That was a six-shot margin, and it’s rare that someone doesn’t win from that. That didn’t make it any easier.
“It’s tough. I don’t sleep well on lead, I need a lot more practice,” Henley said. “I don’t know how Tiger did this 80-something. It’s just hard for me to stay calm. You definitely don’t feel the same when you practice at home, but it’s fun. That’s why we play.
“We want to see what we’ve done here and try it out.”
The win sends Henley to Kapalua in January for the Sentry Tournament Championship, the first high-profile event in the New Year’s Big Purse.