Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy won the Zurich Classic team event Sunday in Avondale, La., closing with a bogey-free 5-under 67 in alternate-shot play.

Horschel became a two-time winner at TPC Louisiana. He captured his maiden PGA Tour triumph at the 2013 Zurich Classic when it was a traditional every-man-for-himself event.

Horschel and Piercy surged into the lead with birdies on the 10th and 11th holes. They followed that with seven pars to hold off Jason Dufner and Pat Perez by a stroke. Dufner had a 14-foot putt for the tie on 18, but left it a foot short.

This was the second year of the Zurich’s switch to a two-player team format.

The victory was Horschel’s fifth and Piercy’s fourth. They each earned $1.04 million and 400 FedExCup points.

The result did not count toward the world ranking.

A year ago, the Zurich format called for best-ball play in the second and final rounds, with alternate-shot on the first and third. But organizers decided this year to switch that around so that the final round would have the alternate-shot format, with one player hitting the tee shots on even-numbered holes and the other on odd numbers. That set the stage for substantial moves up or down the leaderboard; players had no choice but the play the lies their teammates left them on the previous shot.

Horschel and Piercy began the day three shots back, but immediately surged into contention with birdies on the first two holes.

Piercy’s 146-yard approach set up Horschel’s 5-foot birdie putt on the opening hole. On the par-5 second hole, Piercy chipped to 4 feet to set up another birdie putt for Horschel.

Horschel returned the favor on the par-5 seventh with a chip to 3 feet and did even better on the 10th, dropping a 148-yard approach shot a foot from the hole.

Horschel’s 88-foot wedge out of a green-side bunker stopped less than 2 feet from the hole on the par-5 11th to set up his team’s final birdie — and that was just enough.

Heading into the final round, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, the 2017 runners-up in a playoff, topped a crowded leaderboard that featured 13 teams within four shots of the lead. By the time the top five teams had all reached the back nine, they were all within two shots of one another.

This time, Kisner and Brown faded on the back nine, with three bogeys and one double-bogey on 16 after going into the water. Their final-round 77 dropped them all the way back to a tie for 15th at 15 under.

LPGA Tour

Lydia Ko hit a 3-wood to 3 feet for eagle to finish off Minjee Lee on the first hole of a playoff in the chilly LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.

Ko won her 15th LPGA Tour title and first since July 2016, a 43-event stretch marked by changes in instructors, caddies and equipment and a large weight loss. Five days after turning 21, the New Zealander won for the third time at Lake Merced after taking the Swinging Skirts LPGA at the tree-lined layout in 2014 and 2015.

Twenty yards behind Lee in the fairway on the par-5 18th in the playoff, Ko hit a 3-wood that cleared the tree limbs on the right, landed in front of the green and rolled inches by on the right side.

Lee, the 21-year-old Australian who won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced, hit her second shot into the rough near the right greenside bunker and made a 10-foot birdie putt.

Ko closed with a 1-under 71 to match Lee at 12-under 276. Lee had her second straight 68.

Ko holed a flop shot for birdie on the par-4 13th, two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th and matched Lee with an up-and-down birdie on the 18th to force the playoff.

Playing in the group ahead of Ko and Jessica Korda, Lee holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-3 17th.

Korda, a stroke ahead of Ko and Lee with nine holes left, finished with a 74 to drop into a tie for third at 8 under with Angel Yin (67), Shanshan Feng (68) and Charley Hull (70).

European Tour

Alexander Bjork of Sweden closed with a 7-under 65 to claim a one-stroke victory in the China Open in Beijing for his first European Tour title.

Bjork, who trailed by one stroke going into the final round, made his final birdie on the 17th hole and finished at 18-under 270 at Topwin Golf and Country Club. And then he had to wait to see if it would be enough. Adrian Otaegui of Spain and Matt Wallace of England, who shared the 54-hole lead, each needed eagle on the par-5 18th to force a playoff.

Oategui made birdie for a 67 and was runner-up. Wallace (68) made par and shared third with Jordan Smith (64) and Jorge Campillo (68).

Wu Ashun had a 66-67 weekend and tied for seventh, the best finish among Chinese players.