Billy Horschel is on a quest to move up the money list while visiting enemy territory.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Georgia typically isn’t the most comfortable place for a Florida Gator, especially with The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party — the annual meeting between the two teams in Jacksonville, Fla. — just two weeks away.
Billy Horschel, an All-American in his days at the University of Florida, opened with a 6-under 64 Thursday that has him one shot off the pace at Sea Island.
Horschel’s game has been trending upward. He’s picked both of his 2011 top 10s in his last four starts, going T10, T30, T16, T7 over that stretch.
“I’ve been carrying a lot of momentum and playing well the last couple months,” Horschel said. “Then obviously my teacher works out of here, Todd Anderson, and I’ve played a lot of golf up here for SEC Championships, so I know the course very well. So I felt comfortable coming in.”
Any comfort at this point in the season is good for Horschel who, at No. 139 on the money list, is fighting to retain his status on TOUR. The 24-year-old opened with a birdie on No. 10 and played the back nine in bogey-free 3-under on the strength of some great scrambling.
“I went to No. 11, had about a 25 footer and decided to hit it about nine feet by the hole and made that putt, which was nice,” Horschel said. “Then hit a bad wedge shot into No. 16, had about 100 yards and I hit it in the bunker, made about another nine footer there for par.”
Horschel did suffer a bogey — his only one — on No. 4. He rebounded with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 on his way to the clubhouse at 6 under.
“(Holes) 1 through 5 are tough holes with the way that the wind is blowing,” Horschel said. “It’s blowing hard. And then if you can get through that stretch, you’ve got 6 through 9 which are a little bit easier, and then some back nine holes that are gettable.”