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Leesburg native Billy Hurley breaks through for first PGA Tour win

Loudoun County High School grad Billy Hurley III earned his first career PGA Tour win Sunday at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.—Photo Courtesy/J.D. Cuban, Tiger Woods Foundation
"It's been a hard year, it's been a really hard year. So it's nice to have something go well," an emotional Billy Hurley III told CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis on the 18th green at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

Hurley, 34, had just put the finishing touches on his first PGA Tour win - a three-shot victory June 26 at the 2016 Quicken Loans National.

He embraced his wife, three children and mother on the 18th green before Kostis began the interview with high praise for the Leesburg native and U.S. Naval Academy graduate.

"From my perspective, this is the story of the year," Kostis said to Hurley. "What you have had to overcome personally and professionally, you served your country for five years, you come back to a tournament that honors the military, you do it in your hometown basically."

Nearly a year ago, Hurley broke down during a press conference at the 2015 edition of the Quicken Loans National. He pleaded for assistance in locating his missing father, Billy Hurley Jr. Though his father was found a couple days later, he committed suicide last August.

World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, paired with Hurley for Sunday's final round, told Hurley on the 18th hole, "I think your dad's looking down really proud of you."

"My dad helped me. He started me well," Hurley said following his breakthrough win. "I certainly wish he was here today."

While Hurley has displayed strong course form at Congressional - placing T4 in 2012 and T8 in 2014 - his current form was not up to par. Coming into the tournament, Hurley sat 607th in the Official World Golf Ranking and had missed the cut in six of 11 events during the 2015-2016 season.

The Loudoun County High School graduate regained his form at the Quicken Loans National, producing four solid rounds with family and friends cheering him on.

"It's fun to play in a hometown crowd. It's fun to play a golf course that I, for whatever reason, I just see well and enjoy playing," Hurley said following his bogey free, 4-under par round Saturday to take a one-shot lead into Sunday's final round.

Hurley maintained that lead from start to finish Sunday. A pivotal point in his round surfaced on the 13th hole. After a rare bogey on the 12th hole trimmed his lead to one shot, Hurley drained a 10-foot par putt on 13 to regain momentum and stay on top the leaderboard.

"I knew I was in the lead but I knew it wasn't very much," Hurley noted. "I've three-putted 12 on Sunday three times I've played here. So it really felt like I had to make that one to stay in the lead and kind of feel like I was staying in control. So it was definitely an important putt."

Hurley would go on to chip in for birdie on 15 and followed with a birdie on the par five 16th hole to extend his lead to three shots. As his chip on 15 rolled into the cup, Hurley raised his arms with delight.

"I didn't know how good it was and the crowd started getting really excited," Hurley explained. "It totally shocked me to see that ball disappear. I kind of lost myself for a minute there."

Hurley sealed the win and a first-place check worth $1,242,000 with consecutive pars on the final two holes.

The initial victory in his 104th PGA Tour start moves Hurley from 198th to 70th in the FedExCup standings and garners him a two-year Tour exemption.

"I couldn't think of a better tournament for my first PGA Tour win," Hurley told Kostis and a national television audience. "I'm thrilled to have gotten it done today."

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