Washington DC: 26th June: For someone who had not won on the PGA Tour entering this week’s Quicken Loans National, Billy Hurley III summoned championship mettle when it mattered most, birdieing consecutive holes on the back nine Sunday to pull away for a cathartic triumph at Congressional Country Club.
The 2004 graduate of the Naval Academy and Leesburg native collected his first winner’s check in 104 career starts since turning pro in 2006, a year before he began serving on a destroyer as part of his military commitment. The win also came less than a year after Hurley’s father died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“It’s been a hard year. It’s been a really hard year,” Hurley said while holding back tears just off the 18th green, where his family gathered along with supporters holding Navy flags. “It’s nice to have something go well.”
Hurley carded a final-round 2-under 69 to finish 17 under for the tournament, three strokes clear of Vijay Singh, who at 53 was seeking to become the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event. Jon Rahm and Bill Haas tied for third at 13-under 271 on a course that played the second longest among non-majors this season and has hosted three U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship.
The victory is life altering for Hurley on several fronts. First, the two-time honorable mention All-Met at Loudoun County High earns full exempt status on the PGA Tour for the next two years. Hurley had been splitting time between the PGA and Web.com tours. Other perks include a spot in the year’s final two majors—the British Open and PGA Championship — as well as a berth in next year’s Masters.
Hurley entered the tournament No. 607 in the world golf rankings and had missed the cut in four out of his past six events. His highest previous finish this season was tied for 41st at the Byron Nelson in late May.
“You know, I’m not really sure it’s all sunk in yet, but I couldn’t think of a better tournament to make my first PGA Tour victory,” said Hurley, whose home course is just down the road at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, the venue for next year’s Quicken Loans National.