Russell Henley putts way to Wyndham Championship lead behind cell phone alert

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Russell Henley rose to the top of the Wyndham Championship's leaderboard with a first-round 8-under 62 behind motivation from his cell phone. 

For several years, Henley has had an alert set on his phone that tells him every morning, "I'm a great putter."

"Yeah. I have [an alert] on my phone right now that says, 'I'm a great putter,'" said Henley, who took 25 putts on Thursday. "You know, it's weird, the first years I was on Tour, my ball-striking was kind of inconsistent and my putting was, I think it was top-10 the first couple years. It might have been [No. 1] in overall putting my second or third year." 

Full-field scores from the Wyndham Championship

He used to be one of the Tour's premier putters, ranking first in total putting in 2015. But by 2019 he dropped down to No. 167. That forced Henley to turn off his alert, but he's since turned it back on and that seemed to work for his first round in Greensboro. 

"It pops up I think like mid-morning, yeah," he said. "I don't know, I don't know. I turned it off for a few years because it was making me mad because I wasn't putting well, but I put it back on recently. Maybe I need to keep it there." 

Russell Henley endures extreme conditions, leads Wyndham

Henley currently ranks 54th on Tour in total putting and said he started to work with a new coach, Ramon Bescansa, who invented the "Perfect Putter," which has made Henley more confident in the past year, although it's long from being perfect. 

His refurbished confidence has him sitting at 46th in the FedExCup standings, but he's still looking for his first win since 2017. Henley held a 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open earlier this year, but shot a final-round 76.

Once a perennial top-75 player, he dropped below 250 in the world last year. But much like his putting, he's crawling back up, sitting at No. 56. However, his past hardships serve as lessons he uses as he moves forward towards his goal of making the Tour Championship. 

"I think just from everything I've learned over all the golf I've played is you've got to keep attacking out here and you've got to keep giving yourself a chance to do that," he said. "Keep attacking and keep trying to play a great round."