Matt Every has taken inspiration from fellow Florida Gators. (Halleran/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- When he played golf at the University of Florida, Matt Every's yardstick was Camilo Villegas.
Villegas was a four-time All-American for the Gators, and Every measured himself against his Colombian teammate. He wanted Villegas to do well but he was always motivated to try to do better.
Now Every, who went on to win the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's top collegian two years after Villegas graduated, has another measuring stick -- his good friend and another former Gator Billy Horschel.
Horschel, who graduated three years after Every, picked up his first PGA TOUR title at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans earlier this year. It was the culmination of a torrid stretch that saw him tie for second, third and ninth in his three previous starts.
Horschel has added three other top-10s in his six starts since, bringing his total for the season to seven. He's only missed one cut this year, ranks fifth in the FedExCup and with the exception of the octopus pants Horschel sported in the U.S. Open has impressed no less than Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.
And seeing his good friend's success has lit a fire of sorts under Every, who owns a one-shot lead at the midway point of The Greenbrier Classic.
"It has motivated me," Every said. "I know I can win out here. It didn't take Billy winning to know that. It's not like a jealous motivation. I mean, I was really genuinely happy for Billy when he won. But it is a motivation. ...
"Not that I'm measuring myself up against Billy but he's pretty good right now, he's one of the best in the world right now."
If Every keeps playing the way he did Friday, though, he may join his friend in the winner's circle soon. He's tied for fifth in fairways hit, missing just four, and ranks first in greens in regulation, finding 31 of 36 through the first two rounds.
The key in the second round, though, was what Every did once he got on those greens. He needed 32 putts in shooting a first-round 69 but used just 26 and blitzed the field by 4.5 in strokes-gained putting on Friday.
"I haven't made anything all year and it finally just happened today," Every said.