By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Billy Horschel had a five-shot lead and a good sport plan for the Memorial that he had discovered by watching match host Jack Nicklaus and five-time winner Tiger Woods.
There was no have to strive something particular on a course enjoying as robust as Muirfield Village.
And then the scenario known as for one thing particular, and Horschel delivered.
With his lead down to 2 pictures, Horschel produced a signature second of his personal Sunday by making an eagle putt from one finish of the inexperienced to the different on the fifteenth gap, sending him to a four-shot victory over Aaron Wise.
“If I needed to do one thing particular, I used to be prepared for it,” Horschel stated. “Making that was enormous.”
No one ever bought nearer than two pictures on a sun-soaked remaining spherical. Horschel closed with a 72. There have been nonetheless a few nervous moments.
Horschel’s streak of 49 consecutive holes with out a bogey ended on the sixth gap. He did not make his first birdie till the tenth gap. He needed to scramble for bogey on the par-3 twelfth that dropped his result in two over Wise.
Before the lengthy eagle, Horschel saved himself with par putts of 12 ft on the thirteenth gap and eight ft on 14.
And then it was over. From the entrance of the inexperienced on the par-5 fifteenth, Horschel’s putt from simply inside 55 ft had the good line and excellent pace, bending left and dropping in the left facet of the cup as he stretched out each arms in a quiet, disbelieving celebration.
“Just such as you, massive man,” Horschel stated to Nicklaus when it was over.
His lead was as much as 4 pictures, and it was a snug end. Horschel completed at 13-under 275 and gained $2.16 million, the largest paycheck of his profession. As an elevated occasion, the win comes with a three-year exemption.
Nicklaus as impressed with Horschel’s two par saves on the again 9 as his memorable eagle.
“I look at placing as you make putts when it’s a must to make putts,” stated Nicklaus, amongst the greatest at that in golf historical past. “What counts is you make them once you made them. That to me that’s the mark of a champion. And these are the guys who win tournaments, and you probably did that and also you gained.”
Wise did what he may in a remaining spherical so tough that nobody shot higher than 69. He and Joaquin Niemann have been the solely gamers to use any critical strain on Horschel. He opened the again 9 with a pair of birdies sand saved par from the again bunker on the twelfth. But he dropped a shot on the thirteenth simply as Horschel was wanting shaky.
His wedge to the fifteenth spun again to tap-in vary to the gap, and Wise thought he had a likelihood with Horschel dealing with such a lengthy putt.
“I believed that was going to be a massive turning level for me,” Wise stated. “Instead it was form of the reverse for me. It was a birdie for me, and Billy holed a 50-footer for eagle. That was the turning level for him.”
Wise made a meaningless bogey on the remaining gap for a 71 to complete alone in second. The comfort prize was a day without work on Monday. Wise moved from No. 88 to No. 44 in the world rating and is now exempt from 36-hole U.S. Open qualifying.
Luke List moved to No. 59 and likewise certified for the U.S. Open.
Cameron Smith, who had the 36-hole lead, additionally began 5 pictures behind. He had a pair of double bogeys for a 42 on the entrance 9 and was by no means a issue.
Niemann, who gained one other elevated occasion at Riviera in the Genesis Invitational, made a sturdy transfer and was creeping inside vary till his wedge on the 14th discovered a bunker, resulting in double bogey. He answered with two birdies, completed with a double bogey and shot 71. He tied for third with defending champion Patrick Cantlay (71).
Before the handshake with Nicklaus, Horschel was mobbed by his three youngsters. He now has seven PGA Tour victories. His mother and father had seen him win. But it was the first time his spouse and three youngsters have been there, and the youngsters have been bouncing on the agency greens.
That might need been as nice as any strain as Horschel felt.
“Having a five-shot lead, realizing it was mine to win, I actually wished to get the monkey off my again,” he stated of profitable together with his household in attendance.
Horschel strikes to No. 11 in the world, the highest he has ever been, because of a yr that lastly has introduced some consistency in a hit-and-miss sport. He has three victories in the final 15 months, all of them towards sturdy fields — the Dell Match Play and the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth final yr, and now this.
It would possibly even be sufficient to lastly be thought-about for a U.S. staff with the Presidents Cup later this yr.
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