Hurley's victory might be story of year in golf
Former Navy man earns his first PGA TOUR victory by holding off World Golf Hall of Famers
June 27, 2016
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Billy Hurley III holed out on the 15th at Congressional, helping him close the door at the Quicken Loans National. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
Welcome to the Monday Finish, where we look back at the U.S. Navy’s victory over the Spanish Rahm-ada (copyright pending) at the Quicken Loans National. This showdown took place not on the Atlantic Ocean, but the fairways of Congressional Country Club, where Billy Hurley III earned his first PGA TOUR victory in front of friends and family in his hometown TOUR event. Hurley started the week at No. 607 in the world ranking and No. 198 in the FedExCup, but his shocking win wasn’t the only storyline Sunday. We also saw two World Golf Hall of Famers turn back the clock and a new star shine.
Hurley, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, and served in the U.S. Navy, finished three shots ahead of 53-year-old Vjiay Singh near our nation’s capital. Spain’s Jon Rahm, who was making his pro debut, tied for third with Bill Haas, while Ernie Els finished fifth at the site of his 1997 U.S. Open win. Congressional Country Club produced storylines that people from both sides of the aisle could cheer for. That’s always a welcome rarity in an election year.
Five Microsoft Insights
1. This was the second time in his career that Billy Hurley III held the 54-hole lead in a TOUR event. His previous 54-hole lead came at the 2014 The Greenbrier Classic before a 3-over 73 on the final day led to a T4 finish.
2. Hurley’s win at the Quicken Loans National came in his 105th PGA TOUR start. His best finish in his previous 104 starts? Fourth-place finishes at both the 2012 Quicken Loans National and 2014 Greenbrier Classic.
3. Billy Hurley’s key to victory? He led the field in strokes gained: approach-the-green, gaining 10.23 strokes for the week with his approach play. Hurley never missed more than five greens in any of his four rounds this week.
4. Hurley was strong with his short game when he did miss the green, too. He was eighth in strokes gained: around-the-green (+3.25). He made just five bogeys last week.
5. The Quicken Loans National was Jon Rahm’s pro debut, but his sixth start in a TOUR event. It was his third top-10 in those six starts. He twice finished in the top-10 of a TOUR event while still an amateur (T5, 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open; T10, 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba). He also finished T23 at last week’s U.S. Open to earn low-amateur honors.
Top three videos
1. Billy Hurley will remember this shot for the rest of his life.
Billy Hurley III's incredible chip-in birdie at Quicken Loans
2. We’ve heard it mentioned so often that we forget what an incredible story it is. Watch this feature on Billy Hurley’s time at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Inside the PGA TOUR
Billy Hurley at the Naval Academy
3. Get to know Jon Rahm, who was the world’s top-ranked amateur before turning pro this week. He finished 3rd in his pro debut.
Jon Rahm's rise to his impressive pro debut
1. Rahm’s Arizona State teammate, Max Rottluff, also had a good week. He won the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada. Like Rahm, Rottluff turned pro after this year’s NCAA Championship.
2. Ollie Schniederjans will be joining his friends from the Class of 2011 on the PGA TOUR next season after winning the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic. He’s now third on the circuit’s money list. He lost a playoff earlier this season, but this time beat J.J. Spaun and amateur Collin Morikawa in a playoff. Morikawa recently completed his freshman season at Cal. He won the Sunnehanna Amateur, one of the top amateur events in the country, with a final-round 62 last week. He shot 63-63 on the weekend at the Air Capital Classic.
3. Henrik Stenson, the 2013 FedExCup champion, won the European Tour’s BMW International Open on Sunday. It was his first victory since winning the European Tour’s season finale in November 2014.