Billy Hurley has followed up one remarkable summer with another.
Last year, Hurley, a 23-year-old ensign from Leesburg, capped his collegiate career at the Naval Academy by winning the Byron Nelson award, given annually to the college senior with high athletic, academic and citizenship achievements; becoming the captain of the Palmer Cup team, a Ryder Cup-style competition between the best collegiate golfers in the United States and Europe; and being selected the Virginia golfer of the year after winning the state amateur.
This year, Hurley has played in several invitation-only national amateur events, including the Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur and Monroe Invitational, and done well. He finished fifth at the Azalea Amateur, second at the Terra Cotta Invitational and second at the Northeast Amateur. He won the Virginia Amateur last weekend, becoming only the seventh player to win the event in consecutive years.
Hurley, who ranks fourth in the Golfweek/Titleist men's amateur rankings, hopes his strong showings at these prestigious events lead to his selection as one of the 10 players selected to the Walker Cup team, a biennial tournament between top male amateurs from the United States against those from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This year's event will be held at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Ill., Aug. 13-14.
"That's my major goal for the summer," Hurley said. "They're definitely watching these tournaments."
It is remarkable that Hurley is playing so well given that he spent seven months last fall and winter serving on the USS Gettysburg. His commitment left little time for golf. Then, earlier this year, his orders were changed, and he was assigned to the Naval Academy as an economics instructor. Hurley, an academic all-American, has a strong background in statistics. Because he isn't needed in the classroom this summer, Hurley can devote more time to golf.
"The first two tournaments I didn't play too well because I was just getting back into golf," Hurley said. "I'd been serving on the ship, putting most of my time into the ship. The golf was clearly secondary there. Then I got married, and golf was definitely secondary. It took me a while to really play well."
Hurley, who should find out in the next two weeks whether he has been selected to the Walker Cup team, would eventually like to play golf for a living. But in the meantime, he is enjoying his situation.
"It is a goal of mine to play professionally and be a successful PGA Tour player," he said. "For now, I'm just having fun being an amateur, serving my country and getting to represent the Navy where I can."
Bryan Armstrong of Mount Vernon Country Club in Alexandria shot a 3-under-par 67 at Suburban Club to win the Middle Atlantic PGA head professional championship on June 20. Mike Aldrich of Poolesville Golf Club, Kenny Clark of CC of Petersburg, Va., and Glen McCloskey of Loudoun Golf and Country Club tied for second place with 70. . . .
Golf Range Magazine listed Hilltop Golf Club in Alexandria as one of the top executive golf courses in the United States. The nine-hole 2,300-yard course opened in 2003.