Leesburg native Hurley III in mix at AT&T National

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Leesburg native Hurley III in mix at AT&T National

A little more than three years ago, Billy Hurley III was a Navy officer aboard a destroyer charged with protecting Iraqi oil platforms in the Persian Gulf.
On Thursday, the 30-year-old was at Congressional Country Club, playing his way into early contention in the AT&T National.
If the journey from active duty to the PGA Tour sounds like an intriguing story, it is and then some.I remember standing on a putting green 12 years ago during Plebe Summer, Hurley said, referring to the Naval Academys training program for incoming freshmen, and telling one of my classmates that I was going to play on the PGA Tour.
He laughed, recalled Hurley, who wasnt a top junior golfer and whose only scholarship offer was from Navy. He was like, Good luck with that.
Hurley, who grew up in Leesburg, Va., and currently lives with his wife and two children in Annapolis, knew it was going to be a difficult path.
He just didnt know how difficult.
During his four years at Navy, Hurley blossomed into a standout golfer, capturing seven collegiate golf titles and captaining the 2004 Palmer Cup team. He also earned a degree in quantitative economics.
Then, all of a sudden my senior year, I just took a couple of steps forward and became good enough to try to become a professional golfer, he said.
The Tour, however, had to wait. First, Hurley had five years of mandatory service in the Navy to serve.
During his time away from game, his sweet swing and short game skills deteriorated. In his words, he had become a recreational golfer.
I played a lot for the first three years, he said. The Navy let me play on the Walker Cup team in 05. But the last two years, I was on a ship in Hawaii and I played very little, probably once a month. I played maybe five competitive rounds in two years out there. It was a hiatus in a sense from golf.
After resigning his commission from the Navy in 2009 and stepping off the USS Chung-Hoon for the final time, Hurley went about fixing his neglected game.
In 2011, he joined the Nationwide Tour and, in 20 starts, amassed one runner up finish, four top-10s and nine top-25s. By finishing 25th on the Nationwides money list, he earned the final tour card on the PGA Tour for 2012.
So far, though, Hurleys transition to professional golfs top rung has been a difficult one. In fact, hes only made the cut five times in 17 starts this season.
Which is why his first-round 69 created such a stir at Congressional.
That and, of course, his unique background and ties to the tournaments support of active and retired members of the military, all of whom receive complimentary tickets and food.
That connection was not lost on Hurley as he carded a round that included three birdies and one bogey.
You have a lot of military out here, which was really fun for me today, Hurley said. There were a lot of Beat Armies getting thrown around there.
Somebody said, Go Army, he cracked. So we had to correct him.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' loss to Sixers

5 must-see moments from Wizards' loss to Sixers

Here are five plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 120-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night that are worth revisiting...

1. These are in chronological order, but the first highlight from this game is the best one of the night.

John Wall pulled off one of his best dunks of the season, a reverse slam with his left hand. Wall was fouled on the play and knocked down the free throw:

Wall finished with 29 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds.

2. Bradley Beal was the star on an otherwise disappointing night for the Wizards. He dropped 40 points for the fourth time this season. Two of his points came on this stepback jumper that looked like a three-pointer at first:

3. Here's more of Beal. This time he stole a pass and threw it down on the other end:

4. Marcin Gortat had another solid night with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Here was his best play of the night, a two-handed putback slam on a Wall miss:

5. Friday was Bojan Bogdanovic's first game with the Wizards since getting traded to them on Wednesday from the Brooklyn Nets. He was limited to just two points in 18 minutes. And those two points came on a goaltending call:

It just wasn't the Wizards' night, on the court or off of it. In this clip Jason Smith is left hanging on a handshake attempt. Poor Jason:

As mentioned above, Beal had another great game. He just didn't get much help.

[RELATED: Ian Mahinmi leaves Wizards loss to Sixers with back injury]

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The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The Capitals will be shorthanded again in Nashville on Saturday

The three Capitals who sat out Friday’s 2-1 win over the Oilers will also miss Saturday’s game against the Predators, Coach Barry Trotz said.

Defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, both suffering from lower body injuries, and winger T.J. Oshie, who has an upper body ailment, did not travel accompany the team to Nashville.

The plan, according to Trotz, is for the three injured players to join the team on the second leg of the road trip. The Caps are scheduled to practice at the Devils’ home rink on Monday afternoon before heading to New York to face the Rangers on Tuesday.  

“We didn’t want to rush anything,” Trotz said. “We didn’t know on Brooks really until this afternoon.”

Trotz added: “We said, ‘Let’s not rush anything. We’re in a good spot. Let’s get everyone healthy.’”

RELATED: Kuznetsov shuts down McDavid as Caps continue streak at home

Niskanen suffered an apparent left leg injury Wednesday night in a collision with Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas. The first sign that something was bothering Orpik came Thursday when he missed practice.  Oshie, meanwhile, remains sore after absorbing a couple of big blows in Philadelphia.

All three players are officially listed as day-to-day.

Friday’s game against Connor McDavid and the surging Oilers marked the first bit of injury-related adversity the Caps have experienced this season.

It didn’t faze them.

A blue line that including seventh defenseman Taylor Chorney and minor league call-up Aaron Ness helped limit McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer, to a secondary assist and just one shot on goal in 21:42 of ice time.

Meanwhile, prospect Riley Barber made his NHL debut with Oshie sidelined. Barber recorded two shots on goal in 9:56 of ice time.

Washington's lineup will likely remain unchanged against P.K. Subban and the Predators, who have earned a point in three straight games (2-0-1). 

MORE CAPITALS: Wayne Gretzky loves how much Alex Ovechkin wants to win a Stanley Cup