After three rounds Horschel led the Memorial Golf Tournament by five strokes heading into Sunday. After his round, Billy was asked if he knew he had played 44 consecutive holes without a birdie. His response? “I am well aware of everything that I’ve done on the golf course!”
Saturday, he posted a 65, 7-under for the day. At 13-under he was five shots ahead of Aaron Wise (69 for the day) and Cameron Smith (72). The rest of the top of the leaderboard had Daniel Berger (67), Jhonattan Vegas, and Francesco Molinari at 6 back.
Horschel’s 2022 year has been up and down. He had two second place finishes in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Zurich Classic. But also, more recently a missed cut in Charles Schwab Challenge and placed 68th in the PGA championship. He doesn’t sit high in any statistical category on the PGA Tour except putting where he’s 16th. However, the former 2014 FedEx Cup winner has a good mental focus that he and his caddie have worked on recently. “I’m not really worried about score, I’m more worried about the result of the golf shot.”
Missing the cut
Some notable golfers were left going home early on Friday evening after missing the cut at two over par. They included Bryson DeChambeau, who is still nursing the recently surgically repaired wrist, early week favorites Matt Fitzpatrick and Collin Morikawa, and Justin Lower, the young man from Akron, Ohio, who was given a tournament exemption to play in front of his family and friends. Jack Nicklaus has been known to give exemptions to young players as a way to help them gain valuable experience in their golfing careers.
Other golfers had solid days to move up the leaderboard. Daniel Berger (five strokes back) shot a solid 67 Saturday after starting the day at -2. From the 3rd to the 7th holes, he had carded four birdies and a bogey. His back nine was consistent with a birdie at 11 and pars the rest of the way. Sahith Theegala, the Pepperdine University golfer with three Top 10 finishes so far this year, carded a four under 68. It included this nice approach for birdie:
Sahith started with a bogey at #2, but birdies at holes 5, 7, 12, 14 and 15 rounded out his strong Saturday and a nice comeback from the 75 he shot Friday.
The weather conditions were fantastic for the weekend. The greens however did get tougher to judge as the wind picked up slightly. Cameron Smith, the second-round leader, had a rough start. Teeing off in the last group, he bogeyed the first two holes and had to make some tough putts for pars, but as the round persisted, so did he. And he was able to stay in contention with an even par 72 day.
At the beginning of the week, Billy Horschel was listed at 65/1 odds to win the Memorial Tournament. Now he and his caddy Mark Fulcher can add Champion to their resumes! On Sunday Horschel held off Aaron Wise and a few other contenders to win the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The win was Billy’s seventh on the PGA tour, and it places him in tenth place on the FedEx Cup standings for 2022.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 5, 2022
Horschel shot a final round 72, good for a four-shot win over Aaron Wise (-9), and six shots over Patrick Cantlay and hard charging Joaquin Niemann (both at -7). Billy’s eagle at the par 5 15th hole from a putt of about 52’ 10” basically slammed the door on all competitors.
— OnlyGators.com: Florida Gators news (@onlygators) June 5, 2022
2022 The Memorial Tournament Final Leaderboard
Billy Horschel (-13)
Aaron Wise (-9)
(TIED) Patrick Cantlay and Joaquin Niemann (-7)
(TIED) Max Homa, Will Zalatoris, Denny McCarthy, Sahith Theegala, and Daniel Berger (-6)
(TIED) Sungjee Im, Jon Rahn, and Brendan Steele (-4)
After Saturday’s round of 65, Horschel stood five strokes ahead of Wise and Cameron Smith. This year on the PGA Tour, there have been at least two tournament wins where the champion came back from a deficit of six or more strokes, Sam Burns (Charles Schwab Challenge) and Justin Thomas (PGA Championship). It just so happened both were from the past two weeks.
In his press conference Saturday, Horschel gave the media what he has been working on with his caddie, Dave (FOOCH) Fulcher, this week:
“It’s just going through our process, making sure we have a number where we’re trying to land the ball, talking about the shot, the club selection, the wind. When we do that, it allows me to have a clearer picture and have a little bit more of a higher acceptance level over the golf shot.
The front nine was a fairly consistent effort for Billy with the exception of his first bogey on #6 since the first round, ending a long string of par or better results (50 holes). But it was the competition that started to chip away at that lead.
Max Homa birdied five of the first eight holes to get up to the top three.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 5, 2022
Joaquin Niemann carded a 2 under 34 on the front while Wise had a birdie and a bogey at nine to stay three shots back. Horschel had a birdie at #10 to maybe quiet the nerves just a bit, but Wise stayed close with birdies at 10 and 11.
— Triple Bogey Golf Club (@TripleBogeyGC) June 5, 2022
But if the pressure were increasing for Horschel, his ability to sink timely putt after putt with his reverse-grip was a huge reason no one could get closer than two shots on the back nine.
If his eagle all but won the tournament, his amazing par save on 13 was the confidence builder needed at a great time. With his lead at two strokes after his bogey on 12, Horschel hit his drive on 13 into the trees. He and his caddie decided to play safe and lay up to 102 yards. His approach landed about 12 feet away. And with his Ping Sigma 2 Tyne 4 putter in his hands, he calmly knocked it into the cup. On that same hole, Wise bogeyed and began to see his chances of catching his playing partner drift away.
Another gutsy par saves at 14 paved the way for the amazing eagle at the 15th which even Billy said, “That was icing on the cake!” Here’s a great shot of his dad watching the eagle putt fall.
What. A. Moment.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 6, 2022
The rest of the field folded on the back. Both Homa and Niemann had double bogeys that took the wind out of their attacks. Early betting favorites Patrick Cantlay and Jon Rahm struggled the first day, but Patrick was able to piece together a solid third place finish. Rahm had his best round on Sunday (69), but his first three were pedestrian at best. After the match, Wise had this to say about the day:
“It was a great back and forth. I felt like I had a chance all the way up until about (Horschel’s eagle on 15). You could kind of tell he could play the last three holes pretty safe.”
Next week sees the PGA Tour head up to Great White North and Toronto for the RBC Canadian Open. In two weeks, the US Open tees off in Boston at The Country Club at Brookline.
This was the first time Horschel was able to savor any win with his wife and children in attendance. After the final putt on the 72nd hole and after the iconic handshake with The Golden Bear himself, Billy got to celebrate with his family.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 5, 2022
Watching @BillyHo_Golf celebrate with his wife, Brittany, and their three young kids on 18—the first time they’ve been there to see him win on the @PGATOUR—provided perfect punctuation to a spectacular and memorable @MemorialGolf presented by @Workday. pic.twitter.com/uWsbh8K9ug
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) June 6, 2022
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