By Paul Myers

Billy Hurley III is not your ‘average’ PGA Tour player, for whatever that means. Often, those on the PGA Tour were standout players from the time they could walk, going through large Division I schools on the way to professional golf success. Rarely does that success involve spending time aboard a destroyer in the Persian Gulf, but that is exactly where Billy Hurley III has been. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in 2004, Hurley served his country prior to finding success on the PGA Tour. With his win at the Quicken Loans National, appropriately near his hometown of Leesburg, Virginia, Hurley has taken a huge step forward in his golfing career, and secured his first appearance in The Masters at the same time.

It’s Been a Grind

After completing his service in the Navy, Hurley set about building a career for himself on the PGA Tour, but it has been something of a struggle up until this point. Hurley has played both on the Tour and the PGA Tour, never finding a win on either until now. In fact, the 2016 season had been a struggle as well, with Hurley making only 5 of 11 cuts, with his best finish a tie for 41st. Those struggles are in the past now, however, as the title he claimed with an impressive three-shot win at Congressional Country Club came with a $1.2 million paycheck and an exemption on the PGA Tour for two seasons.

Quality Course, Quality Field

To claim the victory, Hurley had to beat an impressive field over a difficult venue. Posting four rounds in the 60’s, including a Friday 65, Hurley finished the week at 17-under-par – three shots clear of veteran major champion Vijay Singh. The newly-turned professional Jon Rahm, fresh off winning low amateur honors at the U.S. Open, finished in a tie for third place at 13-under with Bill Haas. Other notable finishers included Ernie Els at 12-under, Justin Thomas at 6-under, Jim Furyk at 4-under, and Rickie Fowler at 1-under.

Only time will tell if Billy Hurley III is able to parlay this impressive performance into more top finishes on the Tour, but even if not, this one win is a memory that is sure to last a lifetime. Golf could benefit from more stories such as this, where a quality player takes the path less traveled in order to find success at the highest level of the game. It is easy to root for Billy Hurley III to succeed in his professional golf career, and now he will have the opportunity to succeed on an even higher level thanks to the opportunities afforded him by this victory.