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MailTribune.com
  • Horschel a champion at Zurich

  • AVONDALE, La. — Billy Horschel sensed the time had come for him to win his first PGA Tour event. This could explain the composure he displayed in the face of two final-round weather delays and a 27-foot putt he had to make on the final hole to avert a playoff.
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  • AVONDALE, La. — Billy Horschel sensed the time had come for him to win his first PGA Tour event. This could explain the composure he displayed in the face of two final-round weather delays and a 27-foot putt he had to make on the final hole to avert a playoff.
    Horschel tied a course record at the TPC Louisiana with an 8-under 64 in the final round of the Zurich Classic on Sunday, which was good enough to win by one stroke over D.A. Points.
    Points put pressure on Horschel by hitting out of a bunker to set up a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th. Then Horschel rolled in his long victory-sealing putt, pumping his arms and letting out a triumphant yell before sinking into a crouch and briefly pulling his cap over his face as the crowd roared.
    "I hadn't made a long one all week and I said, 'I'm due,'" Horschel said. "I was like, 'If it's my time, this putt needs to go in.'"
    Soon after, he saw a video replay of his celebration.
    "I know it was pretty intense," he said. "There was a lot going on. It's celebration time now."
    The 26-year-old former Florida Gator began the day two shots behind third-round leader Lucas Glover and surged into the lead with six straight birdies after the first weather delay. He finished at 20 under, narrowly holding off Points, who won the Shell Houston Open last month by a stroke over Horschel and Henrik Stenson.
    "When a player goes out and shoots 8 under and birdies the last hole to win, hats off to Billy," said Points, who had a 65. "He's played great all year. He was one shot shy of me at Houston and I'm a shot shy of him here. It's just the way it goes."
    The second delay, for lightning, happened before Horschel could take his second shot on the 18th hole, giving him 52 minutes to reflect on what was at stake — $1.19 million and a two-year exemption.
    It didn't really faze him. He said he tends to relax during delays, and almost always plays well after them.
    "For some reason it puts me at ease a little bit," Horschel said. "You don't know how long your delay is going to be so you've just got to go with it and just wait it out. ... It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as hard as it could have been."
    Kyle Stanley shot a 5-under 67 to finish third, while 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang of China finished 71st after making his second cut in two PGA events, the first coming at the Masters.
    Although Horschel had never won on the Tour, he had been playing the best golf of his young career lately, with three top-10 finishes in his past three tournaments — tying for second in Houston, tying for third in San Antonio and tying for ninth in Hilton Head Island, S.C., a week ago.
    "I played well. It just wasn't my time," Horschel said of his recent top-three finishes. "It was nice that today was my time."
    He has also made a PGA Tour-leading 23 straight cuts, and had already earned $1.3 million this year. Now he has nearly doubled that, thanks to a final round that tied a course record that has been matched several times, including by Rickey Barnes in Thursday's first round.
    Moments before Horschel took reporters' questions about his victory, he sat at a podium with the winner's silver cup in front of him, appearing on the verge of tears as he spoke by phone to his wife and parents.
    Horschel said he had planned to fly home to Jacksonville, Fla., after finishing his round Sunday night, then added "I think that plane has been delayed for a few hours." He's familiar with celebrating in New Orleans, where he also had his bachelor party.
    Horschel became the sixth player in the last nine years to celebrate his maiden PGA Tour victory in New Orleans. He also was the sixth first-time winner on the Tour this year.
    North Texas LPGA
    At Irving, Texas, Inbee Park shot a bogey-free 4-under 67 to win the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout by a stroke over Carlota Ciganda, whose chance for a first LPGA victory was wiped out in a two-hole stretch.
    Park, the world's No. 1 women's player, finished at 13-under 271 for her third victory this season and fifth in her last 18 starts. The 24-year-old South Korean sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole.
    After starting the day two strokes behind Ciganda, Park went ahead to stay with consecutive pars on Nos. 14 and 15. Ciganda had bogey and double bogeys on those holes, part of her 70. Suzann Pettersen, the winner in Hawaii last week, had a closing 66 to get to 10 under and finish third.
    Legends of Golf
    At Savannah, Ga., Jeff Sluman finally won the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf with a new teammate after finishing second twice.
    Sluman, a two-time runner-up with Craig Stadler at the Champions Tour's team event, partnered with Brad Faxon for a one-stroke victory at the Club at Savannah Harbor.
    The duo had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of their round to get to 23-under and made par on their final four holes to hold on for the win.
    Gene Sauers, playing in his hometown, teamed with Kenny Perry to finish tied for second with Fred Funk and Mike Goodes at 22-under. Stadler and Kirk Triplett were among eight teams to finish another shot back in a tie for fourth.
    The tournament's 54-hole leaders, Jay Don Blake and Roger Chapman, shot a 71 in their final round to finish in a tie for 16th, five shots back.
    South Georgia Classic
    At Valdosta, Ga., Will Wilcox won the South Georgia Classic for his first victory on the Web.com Tour.
    Wilcox shot a 1-over 73 to finish four strokes ahead of Zack Sucher, D.J. Brigman and Michael Putnam, who tied for second at 11 under. The 26-year-old Wilcox earned $117,000 and moved from No. 55 to No. 3 on the tour money list.
    Wilcox was in control throughout the final round after he shot a course-record 63 on Saturday to open a seven-stroke lead. He bogeyed his final hole of the tournament at the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, but it didn't matter one bit. Alex Rocha (67), Andrew Loupe (70) and Ryan Spears tied for fifth at 10 under.
    Ballantine's Championship
    At Seoul, South Korea, Australia's Brett Rumford eagled the first hole of a three-way playoff to win the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea.
    Rumford was leading by two shots when he double-bogeyed No. 17. He holed a 10-foot par putt at the last to finish at 11-under 277 and force a playoff with Marcus Fraser of Australia and Peter Whiteford of Scotland.
    Rumford then holed a 4-foot eagle to earn the victory.
    South African Louis Oosthuizen, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 7, shot a final-round 69 to finish three strokes behind the leaders in a share of fifth place.
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