Bryson DeChambeau brilliantly captured a maiden Arnold Palmer Invitational title and an eighth PGA Tour success revealing he was inspired by receiving a text message before tee-off from Tiger Woods.
DeChambeau, 27, holed a testing four-footer for par at the final hole in a round of 71 to win by a shot at 11-under par from England’s Lee Westwood. The reigning European No.1 ranked Westwood could stand enormously tall in handling everything DeChambeau threw at the 47-year old over the closing 18 holes.
Westwood had gone into the last day leading by one shot at 11-under par and produced a one-over par 73 in bright but cool and windy conditions at Bay Hill to fall one shot shy of forcing a play-off in attempting to win for only a third occasion on the PGA Tour.
There was the horror sight down the last when Westwood’s laser-like drive ended in a fairway divot, one of the cruelest ‘penalties’ in golf, but Westwood didn’t bat an eyelid in finding the green from some 169-yards out. He then calmly two-putted to put pressure on his 20-year younger opponent but DeChambeau was up for the challenge; the world number 6 two-putting from 40 feet to add Arnie’s event to his growing victory CV.
And as he headed to the scorer’s hut, DeChambeau was stopped by Steve Sands from the Golf Channel and started to become emotional in revealing Woods, recuperating from his horror car-crash late last month in LA, had sent him a good luck text message.
“I don’t know what to say to win at Mr. Palmer’s event and it’s going to make me cry,” said DeChambeau. “It means the world to me to win here at Bay Hill.
“I got a text from Tiger this morning and he has obviously done really well here, and was very instrumental in my life as Mr. Palmer was to Tiger. We just talked about keep fighting no matter what happens, and play boldly like Mr. Palmer said.
“And my heart has been heavy with what has been going on with Tiger, so I just kept telling myself that it’s not how many times you get kicked down. It’s how many times you get picked back up and keep on going. That’s what I surely did out there today. And it is thanks to Chris Como and a whole of other guys who are behind me, who have been instrumental.”
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