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Confident Horschel not worried about contenders

Billy Horschel at the 2013 Valero Texas Open
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SAN ANTONIO – Billy Horschel is trying to eliminate distractions on the course, which was easier said than done Friday, with roars emanating from the closing stretch at TPC San Antonio.

Horschel managed to block out the noise, then make a little himself.

With birdies on his last two holes for a 4-under 68, Horschel moved two shots ahead at the Valero Texas Open, where a trip to the Masters is at stake.

“I couldn’t care less if they won majors or not, honestly,” Horschel said, when asked about a few of his closest pursuers, including Rory McIlroy, Retief Goosen and Jim Furyk, all of whom are three shots behind.

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“I know they’re good players and what they’ve done, but I feel like I’m a good player in my own right. I think you have to have that mindset. You can’t think that these guys have won majors and then you start worrying about what they’re doing and you forget about yourself.

“You’ve got to remind yourself, Hey, I’m leading this golf tournament after two rounds; I’m that good. I think over time I’m hopefully going to win my fair share of majors and win my fair share of tournaments. I think if I just keep doing what I’m doing, everything will fall into place.”

Horschel, 26, is coming off his best-ever finish on the PGA Tour, a tie for second at last week’s Shell Houston Open. During the final round he didn’t look at a single leaderboard, part of his approach to limit the distractions around him.

Late Sunday, he watched a replay of the final round and said, “I guarantee I would not have played as well. Because when I saw everyone making birdies and the leaderboard fluctuating a lot, there was no chance I could have put that out of my mind.”

It’ll take more birdies over the weekend, especially if the conditions remain benign on the Oaks Course, traditionally one of the hardest venues on the PGA Tour. Horschel is at 8-under 136, two shots ahead of Daniel Summerhays, Charley Hoffman and Steven Bowditch.