Halfway hut at the Wyndham Championship: Henley jumps four clear of the field

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes of the final event of the PGA Tour’s regular season.

He's got the course specialist and an Olympic medallist in pursuit, but Russell Henley's quest to end his win drought is looking good at the Wyndham Championship.

The 32-year-old American set the first round pace with a blistering 62 and he backed it up with a Friday 64 that earned a 36 hole total of 14-under 126 which is good for a four shot lead heading into the weekend at Sedgefield Country Club.

Webb Simpson, the tournament winner in 2011 who hasn't finished outside the top three in his last four course visits, shares second with Rory Sabbatini, who won silver in Tokyo earlier this month, and Scott Piercy.

Justin Rose is in a three-way share for fifth as he seeks the top 10 finish that would gain qualification for next week's FedExCup Playoffs.

Three-time Tour winner Henley is aware that it is both four years since he last lifted a trophy and that his recent history with a lead is a little shaky.

He led last October's CJ Cup by three strokes heading into the final round - and ended Sunday in fourth.

He shared the 18, 36 and 54 hole lead in June's US Open - but tumbled backwards with a final round of 76.

And he was just one back of the lead after three rounds in the Travelers Championship - before yet again heading in the wrong direction in the final round (he finished T19th).

The flipside of all that pain is that it is both raw, recent and potentially revealing.

"I've had a couple of tournaments slip away from me," he admitted Thursday. "I should have finished better, but that's golf. It's just hard and everybody is very good.

"But I think I've learned that you've got to keep attacking out here, you've got to keep giving yourself a chance.

"At the US Open, I wasn't committed to a few shots that really cost me. I didn't feel like nerves were making me tentative. I know that I can play under pressure."

This weekend offers a golden chance to prove that he's heeded lessons of the recent past.

For others, Saturday and Sunday will present the less welcome opportunity to dwell on poor seasons.

Ryan Moore and Rickie Fowler missed the cut which means Moore won't play the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time since they started in 2007 and Fowler won't be there either - the first time in his 12 year career on Tour.

Let's take a look at a few numbers and what the rest of the leading contenders had to say.

Stats and facts

Since Sedgefield resumed hosting duties of this event back in 2008 there have been 22 halfway leaders/co-leaders and six of them converted the win. Solo leaders are 3-for-6.

In all, 41 players have held a four shot 36 hole lead on the PGA Tour in the 21st century and 19 converted the win.

(Another way of looking at it is that Tiger Woods is 3-for-3, the rest are 16-for-38.)

The last five winners at Sedgefield ranked fourth, first, third, third and second for Strokes Gained Approach.

That hints at real potential for changes on the leaderboard at the weekend. Take a look at the current SG Approach ranking of those near the top.

The leader is Henley 31st.

The three-way share of second: Piercy 41st, Simpson 5th and Sabbatini 44th.

The trio tied fifth: Duncan 59th, Stuard 50th and Rose T2nd.

The quartet tied eighth: Na 8th, McCumber 12th, Streelman 34th and Smalley 62nd.

It's also true that last year's winner Jim Herman was the first champion at Sedgefield since 2008 to emerge from outside the top 10 at halfway.

All of which is great news for Simpson, Rose and Na because the others need to keep making up for their ordinary approach work or find something at the weekend (it's worth noting that Henley is well capable of doing that because he ranks fourth in the category for the season).

Russell Henley - 1st on 14-under

"I'll keep trying to make good decisions and commit to what I'm doing. This course, so much can happen. I feel good about my game, but there's so much golf to be played and I'm just excited to try to keep playing well."

Rory Sabbatini - T2nd on 10-under

"I've been trending in the right direction with my golf game. But golf, it's weird how it doesn't add up sometimes even though you're doing the right things. The final round in Tokyo was maybe the final key. I'm always too hard on myself, expect too much. But that day I took a step back and it just seems to have clicked. This week I'm taking the same approach."

Webb Simpson - T2nd on 10-under

"I tend to be a perfectionist, so I see three shots out there that I wish I had back. So now it's about eliminating that this weekend. If I continue to make putts, I hope to have a chance. I'm excited where I am, excited for another good spot going into Saturday here."

Scott Piercy - T2nd on 10-under

"It's been coming for a while, just haven't put it together. I'll putt really well one week and hit it bad. The week off before Barracuda I played at home and shot some low scores, got into a rhythm, saw the ball go in the hole a lot. The game's been really close. It came together last week and it's carrying over to this week."

Justin Rose - T5th on 9-under

"Objective number one is to make it to the Playoffs and I know I need to finish top 10. But two, if you're playing well this week, there's no point limiting yourself to that kind of thinking at this point. You know, winning would go a long way to feeling like you can compete in the Playoffs. But listen, that's all way ahead of me. Tomorrow I'll just keep doing what I'm doing."


Russell Henley's affirmation.

Perspective from Justin Rose.

And again.

Webb Simpson doesn't want to see legs.

A win of sorts for the unique swing of Matthew Wolff.

READ MORE: Webb Simpson visits the caddyshack on his way to an opening 65 at the Wyndham Championship

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