RBC Heritage

Navy lieutenant turned professional golfer primed to deliver Easter message

Beaufort’s Mark Anderson watches his tee shot travel down the second fairway during the third round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island.
Beaufort’s Mark Anderson watches his tee shot travel down the second fairway during the third round of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island. jkarr@islandpacket.com

Billy Hurley III has a late tee time Sunday, thanks to a 66 that moved him into a share of 13th place. But he also has double duty, as a featured speaker at the Easter Sunrise service to be held on Harbour Town's 18th green.

“Anytime you're put on the spot, it's a challenge,” said Hurley, adding that he speaks to faith-based organizations a few times a year.

“I’ve never done the Easter service here at the Heritage, but I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I come up with something decent to say.”

Hurley has a compelling story, though the Easter theme might take him in a different direction. A Navy lieutenant for five years before pursuing profesional golf full-time, his world was rocked little more than a year ago when his father, Willard, disappeared and later was found to have committed suicide.

“I’ve got an idea of the direction I want to take it,” he said, “and we'll kind of go from there.”

At six shots behind leader Jason Dufner, Hurley might be a little too far back to duplicate Aaron Baddeley’s feat of 11 years ago. Some 10 hours after addressing the Easter service, Baddeley won the tartan jacket.

Strange turn

Mark Anderson slid the wrong direction on moving day as low scores continued at Harbour Town.

The Beaufort pro shot a 1-over 72 and is 2 under for the tournament, tied for 53rd.

His round included consecutive bogeys at 11 and 12. Anderson dropped a 33-foot putt for birdie on the par-3 17th and hit it close for birdies on Nos. 7 and 13.

“I didn’t putt very good, drove it a little bit crooked,” Anderson said. “I had some good chances, didn’t take advantage — pretty much sums it up.”

Anderson was played for the third day with Andrew “Beef” Johnston, a crowd favorite.

Delayed reward

Savannah's Brian Harman was one stroke from an idle weekend when he coaxed home a 15-foot birdie putt to end Friday’s round, surviving the lowest cut in tournament history.

The payoff came Saturday, when Harman cruised around Harbour Town in a 5-under-par 66 that was just one shot off the day’s best round. From barely making the weekend, he rose into a tie for 16th.

“You know it’s possible,” Harman said. “And when it doesn’t go your way, it’s hard to hang in there. I was more proud of the way I hung in there (Friday), getting to play the weekend because you never know when something like today could happen."

Harman started with back-to-back birdies, but didn’t really hit his stride until the turn when he reeled off five in a six-hole span. A wayward tee shot at the par-3 17th came down wet, but even then he salvaged a bogey by hitting his next shot within 5 feet of the flagstick.

“(No.) 17 is frustrating,” he said. “But at the same time, I hit so many good shots that I'm not going to beat myself up.”

Bogeyless barrage

South Carolina natives Kevin Kisner and Wesley Bryan are locked in an impressive streak. Neither has made a bogey since the first round.

Kisner has gone 37 holes without a bogey entering the final round. Bryan hasn’t dropped a shot in 40 holes.

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