Bryson DeChambeau put on a show for the fans at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with his booming drives over the water on the 565-yard sixth hole at Bay Hill and captured his first win at the King’s tournament on a day when the average score of 75.49 was the highest for a final round since 1980.
DeChambeau’s drives may garner all of the chatter on social media, but his putter came up clutch as he drained a 40-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole and a 50-foot par putt on No. 11.
When the final putt dropped to give him a one shot victory, DeChambeau was quick to thank 8-time Bay Hill champion Tiger Woods, who had texted him on Sunday morning
“He texted me this morning out of the blue and I wasn’t expecting anything,” DeChambeau said. “When I got that text, I’m like, wow, that’s pretty amazing that he is thinking of me when he’s in his tough times that he’s going through right now. So I just texted him, I said, Keep moving forward, keep going forward. You’re going to get through it. You’re the hardest working person I’ve ever met and you’ll persevere through this pretty much.
“One of the things that we talked about was, it’s not about how many times you get kicked to the curb or knocked down. It’s about how many times you can get back up and keep moving forward,” DeChambeau continued. “And I think this red cardigan is not only for Mr. Palmer, but I would say it’s a little bit for Tiger as well, knowing what place he’s in right now.”
DeChambeau’s one stroke win came over 48 year-old former No. 1 player in the world Lee Westwood who closed with a 73.
“Lee Westwood almost won today,” DeChambeau said. “He played amazing golf. I was fortunate enough to just to have a couple things go my way and at the end of the day that’s the result that came about.”
DeChambeau moves to No. 6 in the world rankings and is now the only player with two wins on the season, joining his U.S. Open win in September.
Corey Connors finished third, three shots behind DeChambeau.
Jordan Spieth tied for the lead on No. 6, but that would be his final birdie of the final round and three bogeys in his last four holes saw the three-time major champion card a 75 on Sunday.
“I thought I played really well. I thought I played a really solid round of golf,” Spieth said.”I trusted a lot of tough shots, hit a lot of good ones. Hit my lines on just about every putt and just nothing went in. And then finishing 5, 5, 4, 5, just, that stings.”
Rory McIlroy began the day four shots off the lead, but a final round 76 that included two waters balls on the par-5 No. 6 took him out of contention.
“I feel okay. There was some good parts this week again. Some stuff that I’m sort of, I don’t know what the word is or how to describe it, but just a little dejected or — I don’t know, like, maybe like maybe looking to go in a different direction. I don’t know. I need something, 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,” McIlroy said.