Horschel holds on for title at BMW Championship
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — The bad swing last week is a distant memory. The blown lead Sunday — that wasn’t enough to derail Billy Horschel, either.
Horschel let a three-shot lead drop to nothing early in the final round of the BMW Championship before rebounding for a two-stroke victory over Bubba Watson. Horschel shot a 1-under 69 and finished at 14-under 266 to put himself in prime position for the FedEx Cup title and its $10 million bonus at the Tour Championship next week.
Horschel heads into the final week of the playoff chase in second place in the points standings thanks to the victory and his tie for second a week ago — when he chunked a 6-iron well short on the final hole, squandering a chance to beat or force a playoff with playoff leader Chris Kirk.
This time, the 27-year-old from Grant, Florida, smoothed his approach into the middle of the 18th green and the only drama was whether he’d have time for a quick pit stop before he had to putt. He sprinted up the fairway, ducked under the ropes and was back in plenty of time to two-putt and close out the victory.
“Obviously, after last week, a lot of people on Twitter were calling me a choker,” Horschel said. “I didn’t choke. I made one bad swing at a bad time. To start with a three-shot lead today and hold on means a lot.”
About an hour earlier, it was another chunked shot that drastically altered the course of the tournament.
Ryan Palmer erased his three-shot deficit to Horschel and was tied after six holes, then again after 11.
Palmer was one behind as the final threesome walked down the 13th fairway, with Horschel buried in the right rough and Palmer buried in the left. Horschel hit his second shot safely on the green. Palmer nearly shanked his into a small creek that runs in front of the green. He made double bogey to fall three behind.
That left Sergio Garcia, who cut a seven-shot deficit to two, as the last true threat, but his chance imploded on the par-5 17th — when he cooked his third shot over the green, then chipped back over the green and into the water. He made triple-bogey 8 — sullying a round of 3-under 67. He finished at 9 under, tied for fourth with Palmer (71), Rickie Fowler (68) and Jim Furyk (66).
Watson shot 66 to finish second, his small chance at victory essentially ending when his ball landed up against a divot on the 18th fairway that he couldn’t move, lest the ball roll downhill. He closed the day third in the standings, joining Kirk, Rory McIlroy and Hunter Mahan among the top five, all of whom control their destiny next week — meaning a win will give them the playoff title, as well.
Palmer’s fourth-place finish moved him from 37th to 23rd.
At Quebec City, Wes Short Jr. made an 8-foot eagle putt on the final hole to win the Quebec Championship for his first Champions Tour’s title.
The 51-year-old Short played the final 10 holes in 8 under for an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke victory over Scott Dunlap in the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in the area since 1956.
At Davidson, N.C., Adam Hadwin won the Chiquita Classic to jump from fourth to second on the Web.com Tour money list after the second of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals.
The 26-year-old Canadian, the Chile Classic winner in March, closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over John Peterson. Hadwin finished at 18-under 270 at River Run.