Billy Hurley takes Greenbrier lead by 1 shot
Jul. 04, 2014
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia (AP) — Billy Hurley III shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Greenbrier Classic.
Hurley's bogey-free round included a chip-in from 29 feet on No. 4 in cool conditions before the wind picked up considerably late in his morning round.
The former U.S. Navy officer says it was "pretty cool" that it occurred on America's birthday.
"You know, anytime you play good, it's great, right?" Hurley said. "There's special days of the year for our country, and having served (in the military) ... adds something to it."
Hurley was at 9-under 131 at Old White TPC. Eleven players were within four shots of him.
Kevin Chappell (65) and Chris Stroud (66) were a stroke back at 8 under. Troy Matteson had a 61 to vault into fourth place at 7 under. He has made the cut in all five years of the Greenbrier Classic.
Brice Garnett (66), Steve Stricker (68) and Chris Kirk (69) were another stroke back at 6 under.
Reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson was among five players at 5 under. He shot 67.
Hurley spent five years in the U.S. Navy and played golf sparingly while stationed in Hawaii. But being mentally tough on the course comes easy for Hurley, whose missions included steering a Navy destroyer through the Suez Canal.
Hurley rejoined the U.S. PGA Tour this season and has three top 10 finishes so far, including a tie for eighth at Congressional last week. His best career finish is a tie for fourth in the AT&T National two years ago, also at Congressional.
A solid ending at The Greenbrier resort would get Hurley into the British Open later this month. The four best finishers not previously eligible among the top 12 on the final leaderboard will earn spots in the July 17-20 tournament at Royal Liverpool.
Playing partner Chris Stroud said he was amazed at how Hurley could recapture his golf game after his time in the military. "There's a lot to be said about that," he said.
Stroud birdied four of his first five holes but gained no more ground.
Chappell's round included holing a 35-yard pitch on the par-3 15th after a poor tee shot.
His only top 10 finish of the season came at Colonial. But this week, he's at ease amid the mountains of West Virginia.
"You know, the course has a great flow to it, just at peace out there," he said. "All the running water and all the good scenery just puts me in a good spot."
Matteson holed a 35-yard pitch on the par-3 15th and needed just 19 putts — one shy of the PGA Tour record held by eight players.
"It was unlike any day I've had this year," said Matteson, who had missed the cut in 11 of his previous 13 tournaments. "I just haven't been getting it in the hole all year, and to have a day like this really kind of turns things around."
First-round leader Jonas Blixt of Sweden had three early bogeys and shot 73 to drop into a tie for 25th at 3 under.