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Despite needing to chill, Russell Henley builds off major momentum at Travelers

CROMWELL, Conn. – Last week at the U.S. Open, Russell Henley shared the 54-hole lead at Torrey Pines before slipping to T-13 with a closing 76. He’s already putting what he learned that week to good use and building off that momentum.

Henley said he “felt solid all the way around” as he shot 4-under 66 Friday at the Travelers Championship. At 7 under, he sits just two shots off of Jason Day’s lead at TPC River Highlands.

“Yeah, I feel like for me, last week a lot of it was just doing some basic things,” Henley said. “You know, it’s nothing too complicated. I don’t feel like I have to do anything crazy to finish better than I did. ... I take a lot of confidence feeling like I can handle more pressure than I thought I could and can hang in on a tough course.

“That gives me a lot of confidence, and just going to try it build on it.”

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After falling outside of the top 250 in the world rankings last summer after years of being a perennial top-75 player, Henley is back up to No. 56. Another strong week could move him inside the top 50, though he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him this weekend.

The rigors of major weeks, especially for guys who contend in them on Sundays, can also take a toll on players.

“I think it kind of hit me on Wednesday,” he said. “I thought I was good Tuesday, and then Wednesday I remember feeling like, ‘Ok, that did take a lot out of me.’ Didn’t really realize it. I feel OK. I’m definitely going to try to chill this afternoon. But just the fact that Tiger has won 15 of these [majors] and Phil has won six, I mean, you just think of these guys winning that many majors and it’s just unbelievable to think about how tough they are mentally.”