Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matt Every registers emotional victory at Bay Hill
American Matt Every profited from an Adam Scott meltdown to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
Last Updated: 24/03/14 8:06am
A closing 70 from Every was enough to see the 30-year-old from Florida secure a one-shot victory, and a place at next month's Masters, after long-time leader Scott folded with a finishing 76.
Scott, who held a seven shot lead at the halfway stage and was three shots clear overnight, was forced to settle for third place two shots adrift of Every, while Keegan Bradley claimed second.
Scott's playing partner Bradley had looked out of contention after dropping three shots in the first three holes and carding further bogeys on the 10th and 11th, but birdied the 12th, 16th and 17th and narrowly missed from 30ft for another on the last to force a play-off.
A tearful Every, who grew up nearby and used to attend the tournament as a spectator, said: "It's really cool. I have had a lot of looks (at wins) and I kept telling myself maybe it's going to come somewhere special. I still can't believe I won.
"It's hard, it's tough man. You just never know if it's going to happen. You get there (in contention) so many times and it's nice to get it done."
Scott had bogeyed the first after twice finding sand, while it was a hooked drive into the water on the third which cost him another bogey.
The 33-year-old steadied the ship with a chip to four feet to set up a birdie on the par-five fourth, but then bogeyed the seventh after his tee shot plugged in a greenside bunker.
Scott had held the outright lead since the early stages of his opening round on Thursday, but that was no longer the case when Every recovered from a bogey on the eighth with birdies at the ninth, 10th and 12th to take the lead.
Another birdie on the 13th took Every two ahead and the 30-year-old soon found himself three clear of the pack when Scott bogeyed the 14th. Scott's tee shot came up well short of the green but he elected to putt through the fringe, running his birdie attempt seven feet past the hole and missing the return.
A massive swing in momentum looked to be on the cards on the 16th when Every pushed his tee shot into the trees and failed to find the fairway with his escape shot, eventually making a bogey six.
In the group behind, Scott found the green in two with a towering iron shot as Every looked on, only to then three-putt for par to remain two behind.
Every then found a greenside bunker on the 17th but saved par after his recovery shot slammed into the pin and somehow stayed out. Scott's challenge ended when he failed to save par from the same bunker but Bradley fired a superb approach to 10ft and holed for birdie.
A bogey from Every on the 18th then left former US PGA champion Bradley needing a birdie there for the second day running to force extra holes, but his long-range attempt slid just past the hole.
Scott's third-place finish means he misses out on a chance to usurp Tiger Woods at the top of the world rankings and the Australian felt his putting let him down at Bay Hill.
"I am annoyed I didn't putt at all today. Poor, just out of sorts for whatever reason," he said.
"Today I was a bit shaky but this course was asking a lot of everyone. My short game just wasn't there so that needs to be tightened up.
"This shows I need to do a bit more work on it for it to hold up under the most pressure."