Billy Horschel wins AT&T Byron Nelson on first playoff hole
Billy Horschel and Jason Day both came into the AT&T Byron Nelson playing some of the worst golf of their careers. Horschel had missed four straight cuts, while Day was coming off a final-round eight-over 80 at the Players Championship. Yet after 72 holes at TPC Las Colinas in Dallas, they were tied at 12 under and headed to a playoff to determine the more unlikely winner. It took just one hole for Horschel to take the crown, giving him the fourth victory of his PGA Tour career and his first since the 2014 Tour Championship.
The final grouping of Day, Horschel and James Hahn took a while to get going on Sunday, when bad weather forced a delay in the start of the final round. But it was well worth the wait when they did. All three players were tied at 11 under par after nine holes, and Hahn took charge, making two straight birdies on the 10th and 11th holes to get to 13 under. Three consecutive bogeys after that derailed him, though, setting the stage for Day and Horschel.
On the 14th hole, Horschel rolled in a 59-foot birdie putt, the longest of his career, that got him to 11 under. A hole later, Day produced a roar from the crowd with a chip-in birdie from an awkward lie, getting him to 12 under. Horschel made one more birdie on the par-5 16th to tie the lead, and both players made pars the rest of the way.
Hahn, 35, made sure to throw one final punch at the leaders. From 121 yards out in the 18th fairway, he struck his second shot perfectly, spun it back toward the hole and hit the lip of the cup, nearly holing out for an unbelievable eagle that would have earned him a spot in the playoff as well. He cleaned up his birdie for a final-round 71, finishing at 11 under in solo third. It was his best finish of the season and second in the top-10 showing.
In the playoff, Horschel and Day each found the 18th green in two, setting up putts to potentially win. From 48 feet, Day gave it a great roll, but it trickled a few feet past, leaving a nervy par putt. Horschel’s 20-foot putt came up just short, and he finished up for par, not expecting it to be the last shot of his week. Fortunately for him it was, as Day pulled his short putt left, giving Horschel the victory.
Day, the No. 4 player in the world, won't be thrilled with how his week ended, but the second-place finish is his best of the season.
Jason Kokrak, the 36-hole leader, finished alone in fourth after carding an even-par 70. He got back into contention on Sunday despite playing his first four holes in three over par. Five birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way ultimately would not be enough, but it’s his best finish of the season, and his first in the top-10.