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Horschel, Piercy win Zurich Classic team event

Horschel, Piercy win Zurich Classic team event

AVONDALE, La. (AP) — When Scott Piercy tried to deflect credit to Billy Horschel for their nerve-testing, one-shot victory in the Zurich Classic team event, Horschel grinned and went with it.

”I’d like to thank myself for playing well this week,” Horschel began with a laugh. ”No, it was great to play with Scott. Our games match up well. We are really good ball-strikers. We think the same way. … I don’t have to worry about him making a bad decision.”

Playing in the same group as Jason Dufner and Pat Perez – who trailed by a mere stroke for the final seven holes – Horschel and Piercy calmly executed one pressure-packed shot after another Sunday, closing with a bogey-free 5-under 67 in alternate shot play that was just good enough.

”All four of us are really great friends. We were chatting it up the entire day- toward the end of the round, a little less,” Horschel said. ”You’re going to be anxious, nervous. You’re heart’s going to be racing a little bit, but that says you’re alive. It says you’re alive and in the spot you want to be.”

Horschel became a two-time winner at TPC Louisiana. He captured his maiden PGA Tour triumph at the 2013 Zurich Classic when it was a traditional every-man-for-himself event. His popularity with the crowd was evident with the ovation he receiving approaching the 18th green. He said he loves New Orleans and has close friends in the city.

”I just feel at home here,” Horschel said. ”Maybe I should look into buying a house here, but what are the state income taxes? That’s the issue.”

Especially if he keeps playing the way he has lately, having finished tied for fifth at the RBC Heritage two weeks earlier.

Horschel and Piercy surged into the lead with birdies on the 10th and 11th holes. They followed that with seven straight pars. After Horschel narrowly missed a 23-foot birdie putt on 18 that was reminiscent of the one he sank to win on the same green five years ago, Dufner stood over a 14-foot putt for the tie. He left it a foot short.

”Last putt, I didn’t get aggressive with it. Just didn’t quite get speed matched up like I wanted to,” Dufner said before complimenting Horschel on Piercy on how hard they were to chase down. ”They didn’t lose a tee all day – and that’s pretty tough in alternate shot.”

This was the second year of the Zurich’s switch to a two-player team format.

The victory was Horschel’s fifth and Piercy’s fourth. They each earned $1.04 million and 400 FedExCup points.

The result did not count toward the world ranking.

BRETT MARTEL (AP Sports Writer

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