Billy Horschel wins PGA Tour event amid historic finish, but there’s a catch

Eleven months ago, after the first round of the Memorial Tournament, Billy Horschel stood before the media and fought back tears as he talked about his lack of confidence.

He just posted a 12-over 84, which served as a metaphor for his struggles throughout the 2023 season. Horschel missed the 10th cut a year ago, which cost him a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs.

As a result, Horschel did not meet the eligibility requirements to compete in this week’s RBC Heritage, the fifth signature event of the 2024 season. But he knew his game was heading in the right direction and still wanted to play.

So he started practicing at the Corales Punta Cana Championships, a full-field opposite event in the Dominican Republic.

This decision paid off.

Billy Horschel hits a drive from the 18th tee.
Photo by: Michael Reeves/Getty Images

Horschel started the final round with a three-stroke lead over Wesley Bryan, but quickly outran him and the others to win by two strokes. The former Florida Gator sealed the deal with a 9-under 63, tying a course record, and winning his first PGA Tour win since the 2022 Memorial.

“This game of golf is so fickle. I think you can put a lot into it and get everything you want out of it,” Horschel said after Sunday’s win.

“But I’ve been on the PGA Tour for 14 years, and 13 years before that, and I knew I was capable and I had the talent. I just worked hard and did the right things. I had to keep going and keep believing that something good would come to the forefront someday.”

Although his win wasn’t over Scottie Scheffler, Windham Clark, Rory McIlroy, or any of the other elite players on the PGA Tour, Horschel still likes this win, and other field events against opponents. I rate it highly.

“There are a lot of tournaments on the PGA Tour, and it’s tough to do well in any tournament. Opposite field events are very important to many players trying to move up the ranks,” Horschel explained.

“Look at Tony Finau, Viktor Hovland winning in Puerto Rico, Matt Wallace winning. So listen, this is another opportunity to play, be a better player and get on the PGA Tour. These events are extremely important to the PGA Tour in terms of the development of players on the PGA Tour.

With his victory in the Dominican Republic, Horschel moved from 76th to 45th in the FedEx Cup standings. This win is very important as the top 70 players qualify for the FedEx Cup He playoffs.

But without Horschel’s mental fortitude and ability to handle late-game pressure, he wouldn’t have been able to get the job done.

“I don’t like to talk about myself, but when I was a kid and I was a pitcher, I always wanted the ball. I always wanted to be the guy who went into the fight trying to win. I always wanted to wear it,” Horschel explained.

“Growing up and having that mentality, I think Ioving has developed to the point where he leads. I love being in the spotlight. I love leaving everything to myself. If I fail, it’s me. I know I’m in control of my own destiny. I’ve always been very good around the lead, but I showed a little bit of that today.”

Horschel had five birdies on his front nine and moved to the top of the leaderboard at the midway point of the round. True to himself, he never backed down from that stretch, but rather grew.his Eagle on the 12th par 5 He gave himself a two-shot lead with six holes left, but he never relinquished that lead.

Jack Mirko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through.Be sure to check it out @_PlayingThrough Cover more golf. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko In the same way.