The Upshot: Every crowned champion at Bay Hill
Wins first PGA TOUR event by rallying past Adam Scott with four birdies in five-hole stretch
March 23, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Matt Every, 30, received the traditional winner's handshake from Arnold Palmer on Sunday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The first tournament Matt Every attended as a kid growing up in nearby Daytona Beach was the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
He never could have imagined winning there. Sunday, he did.
"It's hard," an emotional Every said after a final-round, 2-under 70 gave him a one-shot victory at Bay Hill and the first of his career on the PGA TOUR. "It's tough, man. You just never know if it's going to happen. You get there so many times. It's nice to get it done."
He had plenty of help from Masters champ Adam Scott, who entered the weekend with a seven-shot lead and was up by four over Every entering the final round.
But the Aussie had an uncanny collapse with a 76 to tumble to third, two shots back. Keegan Bradley, who began the day three back, needed to make a 30-foot putt on the 18th to force a playoff, shot 72 to finish second.
I can't believe I won,” said the 30-year-old Every, who earned 500 FedExCup points and a spot in the Masters for the first time. “Being close to winning out here, I mean it can be kind of discouraging because if you don't win you just wonder if it's ever going to happen.
“I don't see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”
At times, so was Every.
He made four birdies in a five-hole stretch in the middle of his round to surge past a struggling Scott, taking the lead for good with a birdie on the par-4 13th.
In the end, though, he had to hang on in a wild final hour.
After finding the right rough on the par-5 16th, Every’s second shot struck a tree and he was forced to lay up short of the green. His next shot landed 25 feet behind the hole and he two-putted for bogey, opening the door for Scott.
Playing in the group behind Every, Scott reached the 16th in two but three-putted from 20 feet.
Every bogeyed the 18th, too, but could finally breathe a sigh of relief when Bradley missed his putt to tie.
“I kept telling myself, ‘Maybe it’s going to be somewhere special,’” Every said about going for his first win. “This is really cool.”
Congrats to my great friend Matt Every on your 1st victory! Now we have 2 Gators at Augusta! Sorry I was not there to congratulate you!— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 23, 2014
SCOTT STUMBLES WITH PUTTER
Adam Scott entered the weekend with the world No. 1 ranking within reach.
He left frustrated after a final-round 76 to finish two shots back of Every.
"Sometimes you've got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don't," Scott said. "And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I'm annoyed that I didn't do better today."
The biggest culprit was his putting. Scott took 63 putts over the final two rounds, including 32 on Sunday. He made just one putt over 6 1/2 feet all day and three-putted from 20 feet after reaching the par-5 16th in two with a chance to tie Every for the lead.
Instead, Scott missed from just inside four feet and was left to wonder what might have been.
Had Scott won he would have taken over the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career.
"Today was a bit shaky," the Aussie admitted. "It was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. And my short game just wasn't there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure."
Perhaps a trip to Augusta National will help.
Scott, who will defend his Masters title there in three weeks, will spend the next couple of days there before going home to the Bahamas.
"If nothing else, it's a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is," he said. "And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that's, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win."
RD. 4 HIGHLIGHTS
Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
BRADLEY’S LAST CHANCE
Keegan Bradley’s putt for birdie on the final hole was similar to the one Tiger Woods made -- albeit from about 5 feet closer -- to win here in 2008. That wasn’t lost on Bradley, who remembered the Woods putt as he prepared to hit his own with the hopes of forcing a playoff.
“I remember watching his breaking in there really hard,” said Bradley, who missed his on the high side of the hole. “It looked about the same. I hit an absolutely perfect putt, perfect speed. Just didn’t break in.”
A FEW FIRSTS
Erik Compton was never really in contention on Sunday but his final-round 69 was good enough to earn him a tie for fifth at 9 under.
In 92 career starts on the PGA TOUR, the double heart transplant recipient’s only other top 10 came at last year’s Honda Classic, where he tied for fourth.
The only time Compton did check the scoreboard in the final round?
“Well, Arnold Palmer was on 16, and he gave me the thumbs up,” Compton said. “It’s kind of hard to hit a shot when you’re in contention and he’s looking at you.”
Meanwhile, reigning FedExCup champion Henrik Stenson picked up his first top 10 of the season, also tying for sixth. It was his first top 10 on TOUR since winning the 2013 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Likewise, Brandt Snedeker tied for eighth for his first top 10 of the season.
CALL OF THE DAY
Bill Rosinski calls Keegan Bradley's birdie attempt to force a playoff at the 18th hole in the final round of the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Live play-by-play coverage from PGA TOUR Radio streams on Sirius 208, XM 93 and PGATOUR.COM via pgatour.com/liveaudio.