Golf - Russell Henley
Russell Henley of the United States prepares to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina. Image Credit: AFP

Los Angeles: Russell Henley rattled in a 19-foot birdie putt at 18 for a eight-under par 62 and a two-shot clubhouse lead in the weather-disrupted opening round of the US PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship on Thursday.

The 32-year-old American used a combination of aggressive approach shots and precision putting for a bogey-free round at Sedgefield Country Club.

“After three weeks off, obviously I feel really excited about my score,” Henley said. “I was a little bit rusty with the swing but had a few good breaks. So overall I feel encouraged and hopefully I can be a little cleaner off the tee tomorrow.”

The first round of the $6.4 million tournament was halted because of darkness with about two dozen golfers still on the course.

There was a two hour, seven minute delay in the afternoon session due to lightning storms in the Greensboro, North Carolina, area.

Half-a-dozen golfers were two shots adrift of Henley, including South Korea’s Kang Sung, Americans Michael Thompson and Ted Potter and Canada’s Adam Hadwin, who was six-under with two holes to play when play was halted.

Some of the biggest names in golf, including FedEx Cup points leader Collin Morikawa, are taking the Wyndham off to rest up for the US Tour’s play-offs which begin next week.

Only the top 125 players in the standings will qualify for the first leg of the PGA play-offs.

Henley’s round included an eagle and six birdies and was another example of the solid golf he has been playing. He had three top 20 finishes heading into last month’s British Open, including a tie for 13th at the US Open in June.

Henley is seeking his fourth win on the US tour, his most recent coming at the 2017 Houston Open where he beat runner-up Kang by three strokes.

Playing in scorching hot conditions, Henley eagled the fifth, then birdied the sixth and seventh.

On the par-five fifth he drilled his second shot to five feet and sank the eagle putt. He sank a 32-footer at the sixth and a chipped in at No. 7.

“Just kind of things got going there,” he said.

He closed his round with back-to-back birdies, including the long bomb at the 18th.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, who won last week’s Barracuda Championship for his first USPGA Tour title, was in the clubhouse tied for ninth after a solid 65.

The 2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson also shot a 65 Thursday.