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Sunday's roundup: Horschel edges Day in Nelson playoff

By Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press
Billy Horschel poses with the trophy after winning the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday.

Irving, Texas — Billy Horschel had missed four straight cuts when he arrived at TPC Four Seasons, a course he was never particularly fond of.

After winning the last AT&T Byron Nelson scheduled at the Irving resort, Horschel now wishes he could have the chance to come back.

While his 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday stopped just short, Horschel won with a par when Jason Day pulled his 4-foot par putt left and past the hole.

“When I hit it I knew it was on a perfect line and I thought I got it to the hole. … I just wanted to finish it off there,” Horschel said. “I didn’t expect him to miss it. I was expecting to go back to the tee and play the hole again.”

Instead, the playoff wrapped up the Nelson’s 35th and final tournament in Irving. The event shifts next year to the new links-style Trinity Forest Golf Club south of downtown Dallas.

In his only two previous Nelsons, in 2011 and 2012, Horschel missed the cut at 13 over through 36 holes both times. With a closing 1-under 69 on Sunday, including a 60-foot birdie putt at the 14th hole, Horschel matched Day (68) at 12-under 268 for a playoff.

“It’s sad that it’s leaving because I was never a fan of this course, but came here and now I am,” Horschel said. “I won, and I don’t want to leave.”

Third-round leader James Hahn finished a stroke back after shooting 71. He just missed a miraculous eagle at the 18th hole that would have gotten him in the playoff with his playing partners — threesomes were used after early morning rain delayed the start Sunday.

Day, who got the first of his 10 PGA Tour victories at the 2010 Nelson, had the lead alone only once, when he pitched in from 78 feet from the rough by the greenside bunker at the 477-yard 15th. He was there after two horrible shots, a tee shot way right and the approach that set up an awkward stance.

But at the par-5 573-yard 16th, the easiest hole at TPC Four Seasons, Day’s wayward tee shot hit a spectator. After making sure the woman was OK, he hit an approach that settled pin-high on the green, but a 9-foot birdie chance curled by the hole.

“I only had one top 10 up to this point. To be able to play the way I did today, I played some good solid golf,” Day said. “It’s a little disappointing, but it’s not the first tournament I’m going to lose. … I feel good about my game.”

Horschel also got to the 16th green in two, and two-putted from 44 feet for a tying birdie. He and Day parred the last two holes, though Horschel had a longer but similar putt at No. 18 in regulation that also come up just short.

Earlier this season, Horschel was eliminated from a five-man playoff at the RSM Classic when he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the first extra hole, then shockingly missed a 2-foot putt.

“I know that feeling,” Horschel said about Day’s unexpected playoff miss. “I told Jason it’s not the way I wanted to win. I know it’s not the way he wants me to win.”

Horschel’s fourth PGA Tour victory, which earned him $1.35 million, was his first since taking the 2014 Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup title.

Hahn almost got to 12 under when his approach from 122 yards at the 18th hit on the green, spun back and skimmed over the edge of the cup. He made the 4-foot birdie putt to finish alone in third, one stroke ahead of Jason Kokrak.

Kokrak went into the weekend with a five-stroke lead, the largest ever after 36 holes at the Nelson, before weekend rounds of 72 and 70.

Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, had a closing 69 to tie for 13th at 6 under.

Defending champion Sergio Garcia had birdies on six of his last eight holes Saturday to get within four strokes of the lead. But he was as quickly out of contention after giving back four strokes while missing three putts of 5 feet or less at Nos. 2-4. His closing 74 put him 4 under and tied for 20th.

Champions

At Birmingham, Alabama, Bernhard Langer cruised to his second straight Regions Tradition victory, shooting an 8-under 64 to match Jack Nicklaus’ record of eight PGA Tour Champions major titles.

Langer wiped out a six-stroke deficit over the weekend and entered the final round down two strokes to Fred Funk. He finished at 20-under 268 for a five-stroke victory over Scott McCarron and Scott Parel.

Funk shot a 72 to tie for fourth with Marco Dawson (66). He had a triple bogey on No. 12, a hole Langer birdied.

McCarron shot a 69 and Parel 70.

Langer has eight straight rounds in the 60s since the tournament moved to Greystone. He took command on 12 and followed with two straight birdies and another on No. 17.

Europe

At Verdura, Sicily, Spain’s Alvaro Quiros parred the second hole of a playoff with South Africa’s Zander Lombard to win the Rocco Forte Open and regain his European Tour card.

Quiros blew a seven-stroke lead, closing with a 2-over 73 to match Lombard (68) at 14-uneer 270 at Verdura Golf Club. Lombard missed a 3-foot par putt on the second extra hole.

Quiros won his seventh tour title and first since December 2011.

LPGA

At Williamsburg, Virginia, Lexi Thompson shot a 6-under 65 to finish off a wire-to-wire victory in the Kingsmill Championship with a tournament-record 20-under 264 total.

Thompson broke the tournament record of 19 under at Kingsmill’s River Course set by Annika Sorenstam in 2008. The victory came in Thompson’s third event since she lost the ANA Inspiration in a playoff after being penalized four strokes for a rules violation reported by a television viewer during the final round.

The victory, Thompson’s eighth, gave her at least one in five consecutive seasons. That matches top-ranked Lydia Ko for the longest streak on tour.

In Gee Chun, playing with Thompson, shot a bogey-free 67, but was no match for the leader, finishing five shots back. Thompson also was bogey-free and finished the tournament with just two bogeys, both on the par-3 17th hole.

Web.com

At Greenville, South Carolina, Stephan Jaeger won the BMW Charity Pro-Am for his second Web.com Tour victory when heavy rain washed out the final round.

The 27-year-old German player shot a 7-under 65 on Saturday to reach 19-under 195. Tyler Duncan, Xinjun Zhang and Andrew Yun finished a shot back.

A year after falling $3,243 short of earning a PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list, Jaeger earned $126,000 to jump from 103rd to sixth with $138,234. The top 25 at the end of the regular season will earn PGA Tour cards.

Volvik Championship

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Travis Pointe Country Club, Ann Arbor

TV: Golf Channel – Thursday and Friday, 7-9 p.m. (taped); Saturday and Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (live)

Purse: $1.3 million

Defending champion: Ariya Jutanugarn

Tickets: volviklpga.com/tickets