Henley had other ideas.
The University of Georgia student was not there just to play all four rounds. He only had eyes for first prize. Henley’s dream came true when he became only the second amateur, after Daniel Summerhays in 2007, to win on the Nationwide Tour.
Henley did have an advantage. The Stadion Classic was played on the University of Georgia’s home course. No wonder he was able to fashion rounds of 72, 66, 66 and 68 for a 16-under-par total of 272, good enough for a two-shot victory over Troy Kelly.
The win moves Henley back into the top 20 of the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He improves 17 places to 12th in the world. Perhaps more importantly, Henley says he intends to stay amateur until after the Walker Cup. That will be good news for US Walker Cup captain Jim Holtgrieve.
Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards received good and bad news this week. Englishmen and Walker Cup squad players Laurie Canter and Eddie Pepperell will not be available to face the US after jumping to the professional ranks. However, Welshman Rhys Pugh proved he has the mettle to play in Edwards’ team.
Pugh, from Vale of Glamorgan Golf Club, won the Irish Amateur Open in a playoff with Scotland’s Gordon Stevenson after the pair tied on 294, six over par. Pugh, a member of the GB&I Walker Cup squad, prevailed by four strokes with a three-hole aggregate score of 14 made over the 16th, 17th and 18th holes.
Stephanie Meadow moves up this week’s Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking into 12th place after making history in the NCAA D1 Women's East Regional, over the Legends Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Meadow, in her first year at the University of Alabama, won the tournament by six shots after returning rounds of 71, 67 and 69 for a three-round total of 207, nine under par. It marked Meadow’s third win of the season. She is the first University of Alabama player to win three times in one season. She also equals the university record for most wins.
The Jordanstown, Northern Ireland, player improves her ranking by 13 spots.
Erica Popson cements her status as world number four this week after yet another in a string of wins on the US college circuit. The second year student at the University of Tennessee won her fourth straight tournament, when she captured the NCAA D1 Women's West Regional by five shots. Popson is believed to be the first Division 1 college player to win four straight tournaments since Lorena Ochoa in 2001-2002. Ochoa won seven straight, while at Arizona.
Stephanie Kono of UCLA earned her first college win, when she shared top honours with Megan McChrystal in the NCAA D1 Women's Central Region tournament. They finished on two over par for the three rounds to finish a stroke ahead of the field. Kono, in her third year at UCLA, improves her world ranking by 39 places to world number 41.
McChrystal, of Louisiana State University, improves her status as a top-10 player. She moves from seventh on last week’s rankings to sixth this week.