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Former Navy golfer Billy Hurley III has career-best finish at AT&T National

PGA TourFred FunkBo Van Pelt

Billy Hurley III came into the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club having missed the cut in six of his previous seven PGA Tour events. A week playing before friends and family proved to be the perfect panacea for the former Navy standout.

The 30-year-old tour rookie, who put off his professional career while finishing his five-year military commitment, had his best tournament since getting his playing card last fall. Hurley finished tied for fourth at 4-under par 280 after a 1-over par 72 Sunday.

"At the end of the day, I moved up the leader board, I started at sixth and finished a T-4. That's always the right direction," said Hurley, whose check for $255,937 was more than three times what he had earned all year.

Hurley started the round at 5-under par after shooting a 5-under par 66 Saturday to move within two strokes of the lead. He was at 6-under through nine holes and only one shot behind Woods and Bo Van Pelt at the time.

"I had a chance with nine holes to go really," Hurley said. "I was 6-under standing on the 10th tee and I didn't hit great shots coming in. I had to scramble around to finish. I three-putted 12 and I three-putted 17. Those were my only three-putts for the week. It sort of stinks to do that in the last nine holes, but at the end of the day, it's a good week."

Wearing a blue Navy shirt and hat, Hurley received lots of support from the large galleries following him, hearing several "Beat Army" chants along the way. It was reminiscent of former Maryland golf coach Fred Funk when he played local tournaments after joining the PGA Tour.

Hurley, who will play this week at the PGA Tour's event at The Homestead, called his performance "a huge step in the right direction. It was fun playing close to home and playing in front of a crowd that was really rooting me on."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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