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September 19 2013

5:48 PM

Horschel proves to be quick study

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Billy Horschel won his first PGA TOUR event at this year's Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

ATLANTA -- Billy Horschel looked at the FedExCup scenarios on Thursday morning before he teed off in his first TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

"I saw that I needed to win, and I saw about seven or eight other things in there that needed to go my way," he said with a slight shrug of his shoulders.  "... I stopped reading at that point."

Winning the $10 million bonus might be complicated but it's hardly out of the question. Bill Haas proved that two years ago when he came in ranked 25th -- Horschel is 22nd -- and grabbed the dual victories at the FedExCup and the TOUR Championship.

"If it happens to get in my pocket on Sunday night, it will be a great thing, but I'm just worried about trying to play good golf, trying to get better, and I feel like, if I just focus on those two things, then winning and possibly winning the FedExCup just falls into place," Horschel said.

Horschel is certainly keeping up his end of the bargain after shooting a 66 that left him two strokes off Henrik Stenson's lead. The Floridian, who picked up his first PGA TOUR win earlier this year, was particularly solid tee to green, hitting nine fairways and all but one green in regulation.

Not bad for a guy who played his first nine holes at Bobby Jones' home course on Tuesday. Horschel has watched the TOUR Championship on TV many times, though, and he's proven to be a quick study as he shot his third 66 in his last seven rounds.

"I've talked to some of the guys that have been here plenty of times and my teacher Todd Anderson," Horschel said. "I just knew it's a ball striker's golf course. The fairways are generous, you know, you don't want to miss them. Especially the back side, there's some tough tee shots. I feel like it fits my game. I can control my golf ball very well. I was able to make some putts. 

"I left some out there. Honestly, in my mind, I shoot 4 under (but) I think I could have shot possibly 7 easily."

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