Horschel's win puts bow on hot streak

Billy Horschel during his first career PGA Tour win at the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Billy Horschel during his first career PGA Tour win at the 2013 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

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Here’s one way to look at the sort of ride Billy Horschel has been on: Back on March 24, he sat 236th in the Official World Golf Ranking, one spot behind Espen Kofstad. Today, in the aftermath of his stirring win at the Zurich Classic, Horschel is seven spots ahead of Padraig Harrington and eight in front of Angel Cabrera, sitting 49th.

Harrington and Cabrera have five major championships between them. But Kofstad? Well, he seems to be named after a 24/7 TV sports network.

Yes, sir. Crazy game, this golf.

Horschel is to be commended for his stretch of play, which in truth is a culmination of what he’s been doing since last season. He’s up to 23 consecutive cuts made, dating to last year (and let the record show, there hasn’t been one World Golf Championship in the mix; every one of these 23 tournaments has had a cut). But at least early in 2013 it was hard to take the streak seriously. After all, in his first eight tournaments he only had one top 10, while five finishes were T-39 or worse.

In other words, Horschel was making cuts, but not raking in the cash – sort of why Kofstad and so many others ranked ahead of him.

Oh, but how that has changed. During his last four tournaments, he has gone T-2, T-3, T-9 and first. To appreciate the run the former University of Florida standout has been on, let us offer the highlights:

• During those 16 rounds, he has made 86 birdies against just 33 bogeys and two doubles, meaning he’s 49 under par.

• His birdie percentage is nearly 30 percent – 86 of 288 holes.

• Fifteen of his 16 rounds have been sub-par or better.

• His earnings for these four tournaments is $2,181,666. To gauge how times have changed, consider that Arnold Palmer earned $1,861,857 in his career.

• Horschel, in just 61 PGA Tour tournaments, has career earnings of $3,587,092. Among those whom he passed this week: Lee Trevino.

• His scoring average for these 16 rounds is 68.675.

• Horschel leads the PGA Tour in birdies, with 220 in just 48 rounds. (He made just 207 birdies in 63 rounds a year ago.)

• He averaged 4.18 birdies per round in each of his first eight starts. The last four tournaments, he has averaged 5.37.

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