Adam Scott had it all going his way at the Arnold Palmer Invitational through two, and even three rounds, but it all came crashing down in the final round on Sunday at Bay Hill as a youngster named Matt Every claimed his first ever PGA Tour Win. Scott was not even Every’s closest competitor, as Keegan Bradley missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have sent the tournament into a playoff.
Every fired a two-under-par 70 in the final round for a 13-under par total of 275, one better than Bradley and two ahead of Scott who struggled to a 76 on Sunday. At the start of the day, Scott held a three-shot lead over Bradley and was four better than Every. By the time Scott and Every had finished the front nine, Every had made up three of those strokes, then made birdies on three of the first four holes on the back nine to rocket to a two-shot lead after 13. When Scott bogeyed 14, the lead grew to three as Every stepped to the tee box at 16; a relatively short par-five that is reachable in two for most players. Leading by three with three holes to go, Every pushed his tee shot into the trees on the right. His attempt to chip into the fairway hit another tree, forcing him to chip out of the rough again. An approach and two putts later, he had a bogey and the lead was down to 2. In back of Every in the final group, Scott had driven in the middle of the fairway and was looking at an iron for his second shot. He hit to within 20-feet of the cup and had a chance to make up the deficit with a one-putt eagle. Scott’s putter had been letting him down all day, and this was no exception. He ended up three-putting for par, and all but eliminating his bid for a win at Bay Hill and a chance at catching Tiger Woods for the number-one spot in the World Golf rankings.
While all eyes were on the battle to win between Scott and Every at Bay Hill, Keegan Bradley was quietly working his way up the leaderboard. After a 37 on the front nine and bogeys at 10 and 11, it looked like he had shot himself out of the running. But birdies on 16 and 17 brought Bradley to within two of the lead, and when Every slipped up with a bogey on 18 Bradley was in position to tie with a three on the final hole. His long birdie putt missed by inches on the left side, and Every could finally breathe a sigh of relief and shake the hand of Arnold Palmer in back of the green on 18.
Matt Every earned every bit of his win over Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and the rest of the field competing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. He was nine shots down after the second round on Friday, and still trailed by four when he started his round on the final day. Every said he always knew he would win on the PGA Tour someday, and kept saying to himself that maybe “it would be someplace special.” There are not many more special places for Every than Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida. Growing up 90 minutes away in Daytona Beach, this was the first tournament he ever saw in person. “It’s really cool,” he said when asked about his first win. Besides first-place money of over $1.1 million, Every gets a spot in the Masters and is qualified for two World Golf Championship events and the PGA Championship.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
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