PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – For much of the back nine Friday, it appeared that Billy Horschel would find a way to salvage the longest active made cut streak on the PGA Tour. Instead, the streak came crashing to an end with a disastrous final hole.
Having made 23 consecutive cuts entering this week, Horschel struggled to a 4-over 76 Thursday that put him well outside the projected cut line. He bounced back in impressive fashion Friday, working his way back inside the number at even par overall following a birdie on the 16th hole. His final tee shot found the water left of the 18th fairway, however, and after his approach shot found the same hazard he was left with a triple-bogey 7.
“I just hit a bad, bad tee shot on 18,” explained Horschel, who shot a 1-under 71 Friday despite the triple bogey, ultimately missing the cut by three shots. “It’s disappointing. I never hit in the water there when I play the course; there’s just no bailout room on that hole.”
Standing on the sixth tee at 5 over par, Horschel staged a strong comeback amid firm conditions late Friday, notching birdies on five of his next 11 holes. He admitted after the round to having an eye on the cut line for much of the day.
“I knew the number when I made the turn. I knew what I needed to do,” explained Horschel, who last missed the cut at the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship. “I was just trying to make as many birdies as I could. I wasn’t just trying to get to the number and stop. I was trying to get to the number and move on to get myself in a better position for the weekend.”
Making his first start since winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Horschel admitted after the fact that increased obligations off the course may have affected his ability to prepare for what he faced on the course this week.
“I didn’t feel prepared teeing it up yesterday; I felt like I needed another four or five hours of practice to feel like I put the work in I needed to,” explained Horschel, who will next tee it up at the Memorial later this month. “I understand that everything changes a little bit, little more media requests. I’ve got to learn to deal with that better so I prepare better.”
With his made cut figure now reset to zero, Horschel was quick to downplay the significance of the streak.
“The cut streak means nothing,” he added. “You don’t get a gold star at the end of the day or a gold medal or a million dollars for having the longest cut streak. It means diddly-squat.”
As Horschel is faced with revising his weekend plans for the first time in nearly a year, Jimmy Walker now holds the longest active cut streak on the PGA Tour, having made the cut for the 22nd consecutive time this week at TPC Sawgrass.