Lee Westwood, just weeks short of his 48th birthday, was denied a first win on the PGA Tour since 2010 and what would have ranked among the most impressive of his career after Bryson DeChambeau prevailed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. DeChambeau, at 11 under par, saw off Westwood by one.
The US Open champion had to hole from 6ft on the final green to seal victory. He later revealed inspiration had been drawn from a currently stricken Tiger Woods.
“It was quite a battle,” said DeChambeau. “This means the world to me. I got a text from Tiger this morning, we talked about ‘Keep fighting no matter what happens. Play boldly.’ My heart has been heavy with Tiger and what’s going on with him.”
DeChambeau’s eye-watering power contrasted markedly with Westwood’s approach in the tournament’s final group. Yet it was putting that proved key during DeChambeau’s 71. For all DeChambeau will revel in his latest high-profile success, Westwood’s longevity remains worthy of deep admiration. He remains on course to represent Europe once again when the Ryder Cup reaches Whistling Straits in September.
Jordan Spieth found himself in the hunt but again suffered on a Sunday. Spieth’s 75 meant a tie for fourth. “I put the ball exactly where I wanted to on just about every single shot and putt and it came out to 75 somehow,” said Spieth. “But that’s not going to happen every time. If I play the way I did today, it’s going to be really good going forward.”
Rory McIlroy also began day four with aspirations of winning a second Bay Hill title. Two drives fired in to water at the 6th put paid to those hopes, with the Northern Irishman slumping to a 76. “I need something,” said McIlroy. “I need a spark. I need something and I just don’t seem to have it. Some days it’s good, some days it’s not.”