Naval Academy grad wins Quicken Loans
BETHESDA, Md. — Billy Hurley III held the club in his left hand and fist pumped with his right. Not far from his Annapolis home and the Naval Academy he graduated from 12 years ago, he became a champion.
Hurley shot a 2-under 69 on Sunday to win his hometown Quicken Loans National at Congressional for his first PGA Tour victory. He finished at 17 under in Tiger Woods' annual tournament, three strokes ahead of three-time major champion Vijay Singh.
"Billy played well," Singh said. "He's been playing well all week. You can see he's under control and it's nice to see him play well and not lose it actually at the end of the tournament."
Hurley didn't lose it. He only got better as it went along.
To beat Singh, Ernie Els and 21-year-old Jon Rahm, Hurley showed the poise he developed at the Naval Academy and during his five years of service. Mental toughness and focus he said help with adversity on the course, and that showed through in his 104th PGA Tour start.
With the 53-year-old Singh closing on him, Hurley was at his best. He holed out from 35 yards on the fairway for birdie on the 15th, a shot worthy of celebration and one Woods himself called "impressive, really impressive."
As if that wasn't enough, Hurley made a 27-foot putt on the 16th to seal the tournament and wrap up the $1,242,000 first-place prize and a spot in the British Open. He had never finished higher than a tie for fourth in a PGA Tour event.
Hurley celebrated on the 18th green with wife Heather, daughter Madison and sons Will and Jacob. His children held miniature American flags as they watched their father reach a high point in his career.
"I couldn't think of a better tournament for my first PGA Tour win," Hurley said. "I'm just thrilled to have gotten it done today."
Singh closed with a 65. Rahm, the former Arizona State star from Spain, wrapped up his professional debut with a 70 to tie for third with Bill Haas (68) at 13 under. Els was fifth at 12 under after an eventful 72 that included five bogeys and one double.
Hurley also had his father on his mind, 10 months after he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He thought of his dad, a police officer, when he saw officers following his group Saturday.
"It's been a hard year," Hurley said Sunday. "It's been a really hard year, so it's nice to have something go well."
Hurley maintained his focus in the final round with Woods watching in his trademark Sunday red and with galleries full of fans supporting the local boy who grew up in Leesburg, Virginia, and proudly sports Navy colors including a club head cover of the academy's goat mascot.
All week, Hurley heard chants of "Maryland" and "21412," the zip code for the Naval Academy. The honorary starters on the first hole Sunday were Naval officers Georges Labaki and Matthew Cook, who both had met and talked to Hurley about golf and service.
''He served, for one," Labaki said. "He did his time and he's also representing the Navy. I've had a talk with him, personally, also, a few years ago. He said it's been an honor to serve, but he wanted to follow his passion, golf."
LPGA: At Rogers, Ark., top-ranked Lydia Ko won the NW Arkansas Championship for her third LPGA Tour victory of the year, closing with a 3-under 68 for a tournament-record 17-under total and a three-stroke victory.
The 19-year-old New Zealander has 13 career LPGA Tour victories, also winning the Kia Classic and major ANA Inspiration in consecutive weeks in Southern California. She broke the previous tournament record by two strokes.
Ko has finished sixth or better in each of her four appearances at Pinnacle Country Club, and she has shot under par in all 12 rounds.
Morgan Pressel, tied for the lead with Ko at 14 under entering the day, had a 71 to tie for second with Candie Kung (69).
CHAMPIONS: At Madison, Wis., Kirk Triplett made four straight birdies Sunday to win the PGA Tour Champions' inaugural American Family Insurance Championship.
The 54-year-old Triplett shot a 7-under 65 in front of another large crowd at University Ridge to finish at 17-under 199, two strokes ahead of Bart Bryant and Mike Goodes. Triplett has five victories on the 50-and-over tour after winning three times on the PGA Tour.
Triplett birdied the par-4 13th, 14th and 15th and par-5 16th, saved par with a 6-footer on the par-3 17th and parred the par-4 18th. Triplett played the front nine in 3 under, dropped a stroke on the par-4 10th and birdied the par-5 11th to set up the winning run.
WEB.COM: At Wichita, Kan., Ashland native Jason Allred finished tied for 65th place at the Air Capital Classic after firing a 2-under-par 68 in the final round.
Ollie Schniederjans won in hot conditions for his first Web.com Tour title, beating amateur Collin Morikawa and J.J. Spaun with an 18-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff.