Billy Hurley III prevailed by three shots and claimed his maiden PGA Tour title at the Quicken Loans National on Sunday.
‘I think this has been the culmination of about the last probably six months every day working on my game really,’ Hurley said. ‘I’ve worked really hard this winter. We built a new house and put about 600 square feet of a golf room and a gym in the basement. So over the winter I really worked hard on my swing hitting into the screen there.’
The Maryland native held a two shot lead going into the final round at Congressional Club but began with a birdie bogey start. After the shaky beginning, the 34-year-old parred the next six holes before sinking a birdie at the ninth to go out in 35 strokes and sit at 16-under-par.
Nerves seemed to get the better of Hurley as he bogeyed the 12th, with the likes of Jon Rahm, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh chasing hard. Hurley rebounded with two birdies at the 15th and 16th and enjoyed his walk down the 18th to claim the biggest win of his career.
‘Just being a part of the event on the PGA Tour that does the most to honor our military here at Quicken Loans National, just couldn’t script a better one for me to win my first,’ said the new champ.
Veteran Vijay Singh produced an final-round 65 to make a charge for victory. He collected four birdies on his front nine and went out in 32 strokes. His back nine got going when he picked up a birdie at the 12th, but then stalled a bit until he reached the 16th. The 53-year-old made birdie there, but any faint chance he had of victory disappeared when he bogeyed the next hole. The Fijian did pick up a birdie at the 18th to finish in second on his own.
‘I played well,’ Singh said after his round. ‘I hit the ball great all week and today was the best I’ve hit it and made some putts so it made it easier.’
Jon Rahm capped an excellent debut as a professional with a final round 70 to end in a tie for third place alongside Els.
The Big Easy’s challenge faltered in the final round and his five bogeys and one double stripped the good work he did in making six birdies. It all added up to a Sunday round of one-over-par 72. He’ll take a lot of positives out of the week, having snapped his run of three consecutive missed cuts.
‘I love the game,’ Els said. ‘I want to still play at a high level. I still feel like I have something to offer the game and maybe squeeze something out of it before I’m really over the hill. But I feel physically fine and the technical side is coming back.’
Other South Africans in the field had mixed fortunes. After promising more, both Tyrone van Aswegen and Dawie van der Walt faded in the final round, with the former sharing 57th at even-par and the latter sharing 64th place at two-over-par.