No Horror For Horschel
By Torleif Sorenson on 9/8/14
One week ago at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Billy Horschel finished T-2. He could have won, but his three-shot lead in the final round evaporated, handing the trophy to Chris Kirk. The final dagger was a chunked 6-iron into the final green. Still, Horschel notched a bunch of FedEx Cup points in the process.
No such horrors this past weekend at the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver — for Horschel, anyway. He won his second PGA Tour event by two strokes over Bubba Watson and three over New Jersey native Morgan Hoffmann.
"I'm not going to go ahead and guarantee a victory right now, but I will say that I'm probably going to play very well and I will have a chance to win on Sunday."Sergio Garcia isn't expressing the same confidence, however. Even though he shot 67 on Sunday, that included a disastrous chip into the water and a triple-bogey 8 at the par-5 17th:
Nevertheless, he will be at East Lake in Atlanta for the Tour Championship on Thursday.
Also in Atlanta will be Hoffmann, who shot a Cherry Hills course-record 62 on Saturday, then followed up with a Sunday 63. This after just barely making the FedEx Cup playoffs and keeping his PGA Tour card by a whisker after missing the cut at the final regular season event in Greensboro last month. Since then, Hoffmann finished T-9 at The Barclays in New Jersey, T-35 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, and then finished solo third at Cherry Hills on Sunday. That 3rd is his best-ever performance on the PGA Tour.
Taking calculated risks like this certainly helps:
Curiously, 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team members Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley will not be in Atlanta; Mickelson unexpectedly withdrew after Friday's second round, saying that his goal is to be well-rested for the Ryder Cup. Mickelson has taken some flack in the press for withdrawing after having shot 70-76.
Bradley officially withdrew on Saturday morning, but this was prompted by an unresolved rules question from a brutal stretch at the 18th hole on Thursday. After dumping his tee-shot into the water, Bradley hit his third into a steep bunker face — apparently embedded. He took relief, pitched onto the green, and took a double-bogey 6. The problem was that Bradley had a conversation with one fan after the round, who told Bradley that he had seen the ball bounce into the grassy bunker face.
After sleeping on it, Bradley then talked on Friday morning with Slugger White, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competitions. White cleared Bradley of any possible violation of Rule 25-2. After shooting 71-70 (T-41), Bradley was still in decent shape, but the embedded-or-not-embedded question was still deeply embedded in his brain — and so Keegan pulled out of the proceedings:
"I just feel withdrawing is the right thing to do to protect the field in the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship next week. It's eating me alive. I didn't call my fellow competitors for help in the first place and that bothers me. I know the official approved the drop but I just can’t be absolutely sure it was the right spot."
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