ORLANDO, Fla. — It felt like half the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational eventually got a hand on the big, shiny trophy in the final round on Sunday.
Player after player had a chance to seize the moment on a hot 90 degree afternoon and they stumbled every time.
At the end of an absolutely wild day at Bay Hill, Scottie Scheffler emerged victorious, winning for the second time in his last three starts and donning the signature red Palmer cardigan that goes to the champion.
Scheffler shot a final round 72 in a day when there were six rounds in the ’80s and just two in the ’60s. He finished the tournament 5 under par, a shot ahead of Tyrrell Hatton, who shot 69 on Sunday, Viktor Hovland (74) and 54-hole co-leader Billy Horschel (75).
The win moves Scheffler, who celebrated his first career win on the PGA Tour at the Phoenix Open last month, to No. 5 in the world rankings.
“It feels great to be able to win here,” said Scheffler. “To be completely honest, I’m exhausted at the moment. This course is a total beat down attempt to play. I’m very glad I didn’t have to play any extra holes.”
Indeed, in the treacherous course conditions of thick, rough, slick greens and wind, a jump off would have been a cruel and unusual punishment.
Just ask the guys who were in the mix on Sunday.
“To be honest, I’m feeling drunk,” said Rory McIlroy, who opened the week with a 7-under 65 and finished the tournament 1-over after shooting 8-over over the weekend. “The weekend is like miniature golf. You just don’t get rewarded for good shots. I’m venting here and I’m frustrated and whatever.”
Hovland, who started the week after winning three of his last six tournaments, had held his position at the top of the rankings all week and appeared poised to win again on several occasions on Sunday, once leading by two shots lay.
“Of course I play great golf, but this one stings,” said Hovland. “My last few wins felt like they came out of nowhere. This one was more like I felt like I should have won. They sting a bit.”
Gary Woodland, who placed fifth with 3-under, had the most unsettling finish of all. He snagged the par-5 16th to wrest the lead from Hovland and reach 6-under, and promptly took a messy double bogey on the par-3 17th.
Woodland’s 17 shot fell just short of the green in the bunker and he left the sand shot in the bunker, splashing his third shot to four feet and missing the putt. He also bogeyed 18.
“I’m glad I left this golf course,” Woodland said. “I’m glad I’m done. Frustrating. I played much better than the result showed. I can take away a lot of positives, but it just stings. i need a day off It was just a mental one… it just beats you out there.”
Horschel was in a great position early in the day, shooting 40 for the front nine. With players struggling in front of him, it only took a few birdies on his back to get him back in the game.
“I knew that I was still in the no. 11 tee,” said Horschel. “I just had to play a really clean round when I came in and I did. I made two birdies. I do not give up. I do not give up. I will fight to the end. I’ll burst into flames before I knock.”
The terms, which annoyed many players, made many of them fold.
McIlroy, who had his third straight nightmarish Sunday at Bay Hill (he’s shot 76 on the last lap in the last three years with a chance to win), was the most vocal about the condition of the course, speculating that the setup zu a The already very difficult course could prevent top players from taking part in the tournament in the future.
“You have to do something about it,” McIlroy said. “There’s a lot of people staying away this week to prepare for next week (The Players Championship). It’s just a problem with the set up of the golf course and maybe they’re just trying to make it a little less punishable when you miss I think. I don’t mind if golf courses are missed, but good shots are not rewarded. I think that’s where it starts to go over the limit.”
Woodland likened it to Winged Foot at the 2020 US Open, with just one player breaking par, winner Bryson DeChambeau.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve seen in a long time,” Woodland said. “The conditions were brutal. The golf course is hard enough and then you throw out the firm greens and the wind and not a lot of grass, the ball swings a bit.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/06/scottie-scheffler-wins-arnold-palmer-invitational/ Scottie Scheffler wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational