Horschel, Piercy come out on top
April 29, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Horschel and Piercy win Zurich Classic of New Orleans
AVONDALE, La. – A trip to a storage unit has reinvigorated Billy Horschel’s putting and put the former FedExCup winner back on track towards winning a second season long race.
Paired with Scott Piercy for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans the combo rode Horschel’s hot flat stick towards victory, a club that had been a little cold for some time.
It took eagle eyes from his coach Todd Anderson, who felt his new putter was longer than the one he used during his amazing 2014 FedExCup winning run, to wake things up.
“Since I cut my PXG putter down to 33 and a half inches to a length that it was when I won the FedExCup it’s been much better,” Horschel revealed.
“For some reason I thought it was longer, and my coach kept saying, are you sure this is the right length? I said, Yeah, yeah.
“But I finally went back to the storage unit and grabbed a replica putter I won with at the FedExCup and realized it was a lot shorter than I thought.
“So I was an idiot and Todd Anderson was smart.”
And he was so confident with his putter this week at TPC Louisiana that he was basically declaring victory as he walked up towards the 18th green Sunday.
Piercy had left him 29-feet for birdie in the alternate shot format and Horschel figured with their one-shot lead over playing partners Jason Dufner and Pat Perez it was going to take something special to beat them.
Plus Perez was playing from the greenside bunker so eagle was out of the question, right?
In the town of voodoo Horschel had forgotten a year ago when Jonas Blixt told Cameron Smith he should take the winning putt only to then see Kevin Kisner hole out an eagle chip in near darkness to force a playoff.
But he wasn’t concerned. The déjà vu he was focused on was some of his own.
Five years ago on the same green Horschel had a putt of a similar length to win his very first PGA TOUR event.
“Walking up to the green I said, hey, Scott you know in 2013 the putt I made was 23 feet I think. I think this one looks about 23 feet,” Horschel revealed.
“I said, so I feel like I'm going to make it. I felt good with the putter. I had the line; only thing I was really worried about was the speed.”
Piercy also felt the vibes and the pair talked about how they might celebrate. Horschel said he might go crazier than five years ago when his double handed fist pumps and screams were so intense they went viral.
“Just don’t jump on me,” Piercy told him.
Perez didn’t make the bunker shot. So it was over to Horschel. But reality came back in when he ran the putt just a few feet past the hole.
Dufner could have forced a playoff from 14-feet but left it agonizingly short.
Piercy curled the short one in the side door for the win.
Horschel moved to 33rd in the FedExCup with the win, Piercy climbed to 27th.
South African Presidents Cup veterans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel made a valiant attempt to climb the boards with a 4-under 68 leaving them at 20-under and in third place. Schwartzel’s birdie putt on the last looked set to post them in early at 21-under only to lip out late.
English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Paisley made back-to-back birdies on the seventh and eighth holes to become a serious factor but stalled with bogey on the ninth. Paisley did however create an early roar on the 18th when his 47-yard wedge shot found the hole for a closing eagle and a tie for fourth.
Brice Garnett and Chesson Hadley appeared to be the men to beat when they made the turn at 22-under. But bogeys on 13, 14 and 17 put paid to those dreams leaving them tied fourth.
Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays were one of just two of the top 14 teams to be over par Sunday. Their 73 left them floundering and dropped them down to sixth place at 18 under.
Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown were perhaps the biggest surprise of Sunday. Last year’s runners up and 54-hole leaders here at TPC Louisiana this year remained in the hunt at 20-under through 11 holes but then dropped five shots on their last six holes to freefall to 15th.
It was a rough day for Andrew Putnam and Michael Kim as they looked to make needed inroads in the FedExCup standings. Starting just one back of the lead they shot 4-over 76 and fell to 15th place. Putnam remains inside the top 125 Playoffs zone at 103rd in the points race but Kim only improved to 162nd leaving plenty of work to do in the coming weeks.
Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay shot 69 Sunday to finish tied seventh in Reed’s first start since winning the Masters. Reed now sits fifth in the FedExCup with Cantlay 13th.
QUOTABLESWe got beat. We didn't lose it, we got beat.
I always say Presidents Cup week is my favorite week of the year. We never have enough team events. I'll definitely come back to this.
Low Round: 5-under 67 from the winners Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy
Easiest Hole: Par-5 2nd played at 4.639 with 16 birdies, 17 pars and three bogeys.
Hardest Hole: Par-3 14th and Par-4 15th. Played at 3.306 and 4.306 respectively. Just one birdie was made on each.
CALL OF THE DAY
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Chris Paisley's hole-out eagle approach for Shot of the Day