5 Things: Every wins; Scott falls apart; more
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. –– Matt Every was once suspended three months by the PGA Tour. Now, he has his first Tour victory.
He was once critical of amateurs getting spots in the Masters. Now, he has earned his first trip to Augusta National.
Despite a bogey at Bay Hill's par-4 18th after a missed par save from 4 feet, 9 inches, Every shot 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a shot over Keegan Bradley, who barely missed a birdie from 29 feet, 2 inches that would've forced a playoff at 13 under.
"It's tough, man, you just never know if it's going to happen." said an emotional Every. "I've been there so many times. It's nice to get it."
Every, who grew up in Daytona Beach, Fla., and attended the University of Florida, was suspended three months by the Tour in August 2010 for "conduct unbecoming a professional" after his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession.
He's come full circle since. His victory at Bay Hill was his fifth top 10 in 11 starts this season.
As for Adam Scott, who led by seven shots after two rounds, the Australian struggled to a final-round, 4-over 76 and finished two shots back in third.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Sunday's final round at Arnie's place:
PHOTOS: Arnold Palmer Invitational, final round
View a variety of images from the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
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1. NOT SO GREAT SCOTT: Call it a foreshadowing of events, but here's what Adam Scott said on Friday after taking a seven-shot lead entering the weekend:
"I think when you've got momentum you've got to go with it. . . . You never know when the momentum is going to run out."
For Scott, that day was Sunday.
The world's second-ranked player made five bogeys and just one birdie in his final round. He hit just eight fairways, found just half of his greens in regulation and missed some key putts down the stretch.
He bogeyed the par-3 14th after missing a 7-foot par putt. Then he made par at the par-5 16th despite being inside of 20 feet in two shots. Finally, at the par-3 17th, he failed to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker and made bogey, missing a par putt from 6 feet, 11 inches that effectively ended his chances of winning.
"I didn't putt at all well today," Scott said. "I was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason."
Scott's third-place finish is his fourth top 10 in five starts this season, and fifth top-25 finish. But with no more starts planned before he returns to Augusta National, the failure to close out a 54-hole lead is disappointing for the defending Masters champ.
"I'm annoyed that I didn't do better today," Scott said. "Sometimes you've got to be hard on yourself. Sometimes you don't. 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."
There was, however, a silver lining.
"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," Scott said. "And if I think back to last year (at Augusta), 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."
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2. THINKING OF TIGER: Keegan Bradley might not have proved himself the winner Sunday at Bay Hill, but he did prove himself a man of history.
After sticking his approach shot into the middle of the 18th green, pin high and 29 feet, 2 inches away from the hole, Bradley started to think about a similar putt six years ago.
"I actually was thinking about that Tiger putt," Bradley said of the birdie putt Tiger Woods made to win in 2008. "I remember watching his breaking in there really hard. I vividly remember that putt, and it looked about the same."
The memories certainly also include the image of Woods throwing his hat down to the ground in celebration back in 2008. But instead of enjoying a similar celebration, Bradley's visor remained on his head as he crouched down in disappointment.
"I thought I made that putt on the last hole, I really did," said Bradley, who settled for par, a final-round 72 and a second-place finish at 12-under 276.
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3. ROLLING INTO AUGUSTA: Brandt Snedeker can sympathize with all the bad putters out there.
That's because one of the Tour's best with the flatstick has been uncharacteristically poor on the greens lately, entering this week at Bay Hill ranked 71st in strokes gained-putting.
"Every great putter that putts bad understands why some guys who are bad putters are sour guys to be around sometimes," said Snedeker, the Tour's best putter statistically in 2012 and fourth last season. "When you're not putting well, it's tough to have a great outlook. It's tough to stay positive."
Snedeker's outlook entering the Masters just got a whole lot better, though.
After what he called one of the worst putting rounds of his career Saturday, Snedeker followed that up with one of his best in Sunday's final round – 25 putts, 11 one-putts and five made putts of 13 feet or more, including a 27-footer for birdie at the opening hole and a 24-foot birdie at the 11th.
"Today is the best I've rolled it in a year it felt like," said Snedeker, who shot a final-round, 4-under 68 to cap an 8-under 280.
"I've been trying to find (my putting stroke) all year and today is the best it's felt under the gun."
Snedeker will make a short trip to Augusta National on Monday. He'll then spend some time practicing with instructor Todd Anderson in Sea Island, Ga., before arriving in Augusta the Sunday before the Masters.
"Hopefully I've figured something out," Snedeker said. "I feel a lot better going into the Masters than I did before."
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4. FIRST TOP 10 FOR STENSON: Since winning the FedEx Cup title last September, Henrik Stenson hadn't cracked the top 10 in four PGA Tour starts entering the API.
OK, so four isn't many, but Stenson's first top-10 finish of the season – he shot 69-68 on the weekend to tie for fifth at 9-under 279 – is still noteworthy.
"I was striking the ball really good on the weekend here; I pretty much hit all the greens today," said Stenson, who found 17 of 18 greens Sunday. "Friday was not a good start on the greens, three‑putt three times within a five hole stretch. That kind of threw me off. I threw that round away.
"But I picked myself up after that and played solid on the weekend and feel like I'm moving closer to where I want to be."
Stenson will take a short vacation early this week, traveling to the Florida Keys with his family. After that, it's practice, a "quick scouting mission" to Augusta National, the Shell Houston Open, and then more practice until the Masters for the world's third-ranked player.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Erik Compton was 4 under on his final round before a bogey at the 18th gave him a 3-under 69 and a T-5 finish at 9 under. "It's funny," Compton said. "I switched balls on the last hole. I played 17 holes with one ball and then switched and made bogey." . . . Oklahoma State freshman Zachary Olsen carded a final-round, 2-over 74 to finish T-57 at 2-over 290 in his first PGA Tour start. . . . Ryo Ishikawa tied for eighth at 8 under for his third top 10 in 12 starts this season. . . . Padraig Harrington's final-round 80 equaled his highest score in 724 PGA Tour rounds.