No shades of 2014 in Russell Henley's Torrey Pines return at U.S. Open

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SAN DIEGO – The last time Russell Henley played the South Course at Torrey Pines, he was 8 over par through his first 15 holes. That was 2014.

“I don’t really remember besides just leaving the course feeling like I just got beat up,” Henley laughed on Thursday. “I played in that one time and really struggled and it was like, well, I’ll just not play it from now on. Maybe that’s not the best reason.”

If his experience with the South Course prompted him to remove the Farmers Insurance Open from his schedule his play on Day 1 at the U.S. Open might have him reconsidering that decision.

Highlights: 2021 U.S. Open, Round 1

U.S. Open: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Despite a bogey at the first hole Henley turned in 2 under and added three more birdies on the back nine for a 4-under 67 and the early lead.

Henley was also quick to admit that he’s a much different player than he was in ’14 when he missed the cut at Torrey Pines by six shots thanks to his work with swing coach Jim McLean and a vastly improved game off the tee.

“I would say over the last year I’ve played the best golf I’ve played consistently in my career. I feel like I have more of a complete game,” he said. “I want to play better in the majors.”