Navy vet Hurley leads on 4th of July

Billy Hurley III fired a bogey-free 7-under par 63 and grabbed a one-stroke lead over Kevin Chappell and Chris Stroud after two rounds of the Greenbrier Classic on the Old White TPC at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Hurley, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy who served two years as a lieutenant on a destroyer in the Persian Gulf, carded three birdies on a span of four holes near the end of both nines.

“Anytime you play good, it’s great, right?” said the 32-year-old Hurley, whose best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for fourth in the 2012 AT&T National. “But certainly, there’s special days of the year for our country, and … being the only person playing this week who has served (in the military) … it adds some kind of stuff.

“… Fourth of July has always been a special day for me just growing up, and kind of what it means for our independence. So it’s pretty cool, I guess, to shoot 7‑under on the Fourth of July.”

Chappell, from Fresno and UCLA, recorded a bogey-free 65 that included birdies on two of his last four holes, while Stroud made birdies on four of his first five holes to kick-start a second straight 66.

Troy Matteson birdied four of his first five holes and added five more birdies on the back nine while shooting a 61 that left him two shots back in solo third, while Steve Stricker had a 68 that left him three strokes back in a tie for third with Chris Kirk, who wound up at 69, and Bruce Garnett, who came in at 66.

Defending champion Jonas Blixt of Sweden, who held the first-round lead with a 64, struggled to a 73 and was six strokes back in a tie for 25th.

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