Sunday's best gives Every successful defense
March 22, 2015
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Matt Every tied the round of the day Sunday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge with a closing 66. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Timing is everything in golf. Sunday at Bay Hill, it all paid off for Matt Every.
The 31-year-old, who grew up in nearby Daytona Beach and attended the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard as a teenager, successfully defended his title there after shooting a 6-under 66 to win by one over Henrik Stenson.
Previously, only Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts had won in consecutive years at Bay Hill. For Every, the victory was the second of his career. In between them, there wasn't much success.
“It's a weird game,” Every said. “Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards and I feel like that's what I did.”
Last fall, Every was worn out and frustrated by a lack of results with his game -- he had six missed cuts and a WD in his final 13 starts of the year. He was ready to change his body and his game.
Every began working out on the road with trainer Craig Davies when a spot became available and there was another vacancy when Tiger Woods parted ways with coach Sean Foley last August.
Foley could see Every’s talent and sometimes wouldn’t say a word during their range sessions. He also provided clarity -- an understanding of why the ball would do what it did.
In layman’s terms, Every was lining his eyes up to hit a draw but everything else was set up for a fade, which is a shot he likes to play. Foley adjusted his eye line over the ball.
“From a sensory standpoint, he was crossing himself up,” Foley said “I’ve worked with a lot of players who could never make that change because it would look too scary to them.”
Every was open to change, though.
“The first (win) you don't know if it's going to happen because it never happened before,” he said.
“After I won that, I played poorly right after for awhile and then I decided to kind of make some changes. This is what's going to happen. I'm going to do it the right way. When it comes, it's going to be awesome.”
Which is mostly what Every was since missing the cut last week at Innisbrook, where he shot a second-round 79. He stuck around anyway, worked on his game and at Bay Hill put it all together.
No one played better than Every on Sunday. His 66 was tied for lowest round of the day along with Zach Johnson.
For the week, Every was second in greens hit, eighth in strokes gained-putting and first in strokes gained tee-to-green. Sunday, he bogeyed the opening hole but made seven birdies the rest of the way, which included three in a four-hole stretch around the turn and the game-winner from 17 feet on the final hole.
He had help from Stenson, too. The Swede three-putted for bogey on No. 15 and one hole later three-putted again from the back of the par-5 16th.
Needing a birdie on the 18th to force a playoff, Stenson’s 20-footer missed.
“I just found a way today,” Every said. “Today, it was emotional. The first one you worked your whole life for. The second one, I worked like six months.”
Matt Every closes with a 66 to defend his title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
STENSON'S THREE-PUTTS COSTLY: Henrik Stenson said he felt hurried during his two three-putts late in the round Sunday after the group was put on the clock on the 15th hole.
“I didn't really have much time to look at my putt and rushed that one a little bit, the first one and three-putted,” the Swede said afterward. “(Playing partner) Morgan (Hoffmann) got a bad time on his second shot on 16 and again I kind of rushed my putting on 16 and three-putted that one. That's really what cost me the tournament. Those two three-putts on 15 and 16.
“We might have been a couple minutes out for sure but then again it's normally not the quickest when you're playing in the last group. More people, more movement. You have to back off every now and then for some mobile phones and stuff like that."
The group was initially timed beginning on the sixth hole and then slowed by a ruling on the ninth, where Hoffmann’s approach missed the green right and he was given a drop from a temporary fence.
They made up some time, Stenson said, but Hoffmann was given a warning on 16. It didn’t go unnoticed by Stenson, who admitted he could've handled the circumstances differently.
“It’s better to have to take a warning than a three-putt I guess,” Stenson said. “But it’s difficult when you see an official in a cart with a stopwatch."
Officials said everything was done within the guidelines of putting the group on the clock.
MCILROY'S MAJOR MINDSET: Rory McIlroy’s game isn’t where he wants it to be. With the year’s first major three weeks away he’s OK with that.
“If I had played really well the last few weeks how do I keep this going,” he said. “It's nice to be able to try and build yourself up.”
At Bay Hill, his goal was to get into contention. He did so briefly on Saturday, moving to within one of the lead before three straight bogeys dropped him down the leaderboard.
A day later, McIlroy closed with a ho-hum 70 that included six missed putts from inside 10 feet. He tied for 11th.
In 10 rounds on the PGA TOUR this year, McIlroy has broken 70 just once. He finished second and first in his first two starts of the year in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but he knows he can’t afford mental lapses when he gets to Augusta National.
“Mentally probably a little soft for a few holes (Saturday), probably for a few holes again today,” McIlroy said of his performance this week. “Just more, you know, caught in between swings or caught in between shots instead of just being really decisive and committed to one shot, but I think that all comes with just being more and more comfortable and I feel like I'm getting there.”
“It's something that you need. I think Augusta is one of the most mentally challenging weeks of the year. … So, it is, it's a tough week in that regard.”
The other area McIlroy said he needs improvement in is his wedge play.
This was his last start before the Masters, which begins April 9 and is where he’ll be trying to complete the career Grand Slam and win his third straight major championship.
“Not taking advantage of getting it up close to the green,” McIlroy said of his wedge game. “If I'm getting ready just for Augusta and I'm thinking about it, there is quite a few wedges for me there and going to concentrate a lot on sort of from 120 yards in the next couple of weeks and try to get that as sharp as I possibly can.”
SHOT OF THE DAY
Zach Johnson made the second albatross of the week at Bay Hill when his perfect approach to the par-5 16th found the bottom of the cup.
Shot of the Day
Albatross for Zach Johnson on No. 16 is the Shot of the Day
CALL OF THE DAY
Tom Werme calls Matt Every's birdie at No. 18 on his way to winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second straight year.
ODDS & ENDS
With Stenson blowing a two-shot lead Sunday, the last nine 54-hole leaders on the PGA TOUR have failed to win. Just five times in 19 tournaments this season has a third-round leader emerged victorious. Bill Haas was the last do it at PGA West in January. ...
At least seven bogey-free rounds were recorded each of the first three days at Bay Hill. Sunday, Hudson Swafford had the lone bogey-free round. He shot 68 to tie for 11th. ...
The hardest hole for the week was the par-3 second with a scoring average of 3.179. The easiest was the par-5 16th with a 4.298 average. ...
Dr. Phillips Charities contributed $5,000 to Orlando Health for every eagle made during the tournament through the “Eagles for Arnie Program.” For the week, 49 eagles were made. In addition, $10,000 was donated for each double eagle this week.
ROUND 4 STATISTICAL LEADERS
Category Round 4 leader Statistic Weekly leader Statistic Strokes gained: tee-to-green Matt Every, Zach Johnson 5.553 per round Matt Every 3.855 per round Driving distance Jason Kokrak 312.5 yards Adam Scott 308.4 yards Driving accuracy Ben Martin 100 percent Ben Martin 89.29 percent Greens in regulation Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na 83.33 percent Francesco Molinari 81.94 percent Strokes gained: putting Matt Every 2.761 per round Kiradech Aphibarnrat 3.208 per round Putts per round Ken Duke, Shawn Stefani, Danny Willett 24 Shawn Stefani 26.50 Total birdies Jason Day, Matt Every, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas 7 Matt Every, Matt Jones 25
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Every you beast! Boom!— Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) March 22, 2015
Click on the image below to check out the best images from Sunday at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.