BILLY HURLEY 111 was a feel-good story with his debut win in the US PGA TOUR, Henrik Stenson won his 10th European Tour title and the unstoppable Lydia Ko made it 13 wins on the LPGA.
The 33 year old Hurley was ranked 607th in the world heading into the 2016 Quicken Loans National Championship at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.
Hurley lives nearby and without a full tour card was on a sponsors invite. He was a bit of a prodigy as a youngster, spurred on by his assistant golf pro father, but his career was put on hold as he served five years in the navy.
Last year playing this event Hurley’s father disappeared – you might remember the young golfer’s pleas for public help in locating his dad – and although Hurley senior was eventually found okay, he subsequently was discovered deceased with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
In a life-changing win, Hurley shot a 2-under 69 on Sunday to beat 53 year old tour veteran Vijay Singh (65) by three strokes with debut Spanish professional Jon Rahm (70) and Bill Haas (68) third a stroke further back.
“Being part of this event which is near to home, near to the academy (naval) and does the most to honour the military here at Quicken Lonas National I couldn’t script a better one for me to win,” said Hurley, surround by his wife and family.
“This is the culmination of six months hard work to the point where my golf swing is now very balanced now and I can work it both ways with ease. We built a new home and installed a golf facility within and have really worked hard on doing just that.”
Hurley will now enjoy a two year tour exemption and entry to a number of being events, include the British Open in a couple of weeks and the US Masters.
Aaron Baddeley (71) finished the best of the Aussies at T12.
Stenson wins BMW International Open
Henrik Stenson had to battle through 36 holes on Sunday after rain delays at the BMW International Open at Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof in Austria.
He was looking in control after a 4-under 67 in his third round in the morning but had to hold his nerve coming down the stretch when he surrendered his outright lead.
He eventually finished with a 1-under 71 to close at 17-under, three ahead of South African Darren Fichardt (69) and Denmark’s Thorbjom Olesen (73).
“It was hairy all the way, it was a tough one. I had to dig deep to come back. I didn’t play well on the front nine, made a couple of mistakes, got caught out by the wind a few times and missed one or two putts I should have made as well,” said Stenson, who withdrew from the US Open due to injury.
“I felt like I was starting to make a bit of a mess of it and then I came back and made the birdies on the par fives. I made some good putts closing out.
“I really feel like I played well in 2015 and I just couldn’t get a trophy. It was a bit hard at times but you’ve just got to keep on trying and put yourself in position. I did that once again and this time I managed to go all the way.”
Marcus Fraser finished as the leading Australian at 21st and made up ground on main Rio Olympics rival Scott Hend who missed the cut.
Lydia Ko wins 13th LPGA title
Its hard to believe Lydia Ko is still shy of 20 years of age but now has 13 LPGA victories, the latest a three shot win over Candie Kung and Morgan Pressel at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
It was the young Kiwi’s third win of the year and there will no doubt be lots more to come, including a great chance at the US Women’s Open in two week’s time.
Minjee Lee also continued her successful year, finishing tied for eight.
Australia’s Peter Senior and Craig Parry finished well down the order at their US Champions Tour, the American Family Insurance Championship in Wisconsin.
Four straight birdies helped America’s Kirk Triplett capture his fifth Champions Tour title.
Kirk Triplett’s two-stroke victory at American Family Insurance: Video