Day's Arnold Palmer
The back 9 of Sunday’s final round kicked off with a 4-man race to the finish. Jason Day and Kevin Chappell were tied for the lead with Henrik Stenson 1 shot back and Troy Merritt 4 shots back after a rough front 9. Despite strong charges from Kevin Chappell and a five hole birdie run from Troy Merritt, Day was able to finish birdie-par to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by 1 shot over Kevin Chappell. This would be Day’s first win of 2016 and the first time he has finished better than 18th in the state of Florida. (Looks like the Aussie’s adjusting, ay?)
Day started the week off hot with a 67-65 start and looked like he may run away with the event. However, tough weather on Saturday and less than stellar play on Sunday kept the field in it. On Sunday, Day proved his elite status by finding a way to win. He was able to birdie the difficult par-3 17th and then got a tough greenside bunker shot up and down on 18 for the title. His victory quiets media speculation that he had lost steam by taking some time off during the off-season.
The other guys
Of the final 4 on Sunday’s back 9, Chappell was the only one looking for his first PGA Tour title. The UCLA grad is one of the Tour’s best ball-strikers, but his unreliable putting has kept him from becoming a world-class player. Sunday, Chappell’s putter was working for him as he converted all of his putts inside 10’, but a costly bogey on 18 dropped him to -16 (one shot behind Day).
Playing in the final group with Jason Day, Troy Merritt’s Sunday was a tale of two nines. The front 9 saw Merritt struggle to a two-over-par 38, 4 shots behind the leaders. Merritt made the turn and a charge, birdieing the first 5 holes on the backside and surging into a tie for the lead. He was able to hang on till the bitter end, flashing his short game wizardry by holing out a par chip on 17. Merritt needed a birdie on the difficult 18th to force a playoff, but his 2nd shot from the fairway flared right and found the water, leading to a double bogey and a t3 finish.
In even more interesting news, it appears Troy Merritt is a wizard in more ways than one. Sunday’s telecast reported that the 30-year-old has read all 7 Harry Potter books 12 times each.
Somebody get this guy a library card.
Another Sunday, another near miss for world number 7 Henrik Stenson. Stenson had his chances Sunday but watched them slip away as the talented Swede was unable to execute the shots he needed to hit down the stretch. Stenson had pulled himself into a tie for the lead after back to back birdies on 12 and 13 but followed with a poor chip on 14 that resulted in a bogey. Plunking his second shot into the water on the easy 16th led to another bogey and an eventual t3rd. He is a fixture late on Sundays, but Stenson’s struggles to close show just how difficult winning is on Tour.
Jekyll and Hyde
It was quite a roller coaster week for Rory McIlroy, who shot stellar rounds of 67 and 65 on Friday and Sunday but disappointing 75s on Thursday and Saturday. McIlroy’s play in 2016 has been marred by his inability to shoot 4 consecutive rounds. The silver lining of the week: McIlroy’s move to left-hand low appears to be working, he finished the week with a .99 strokes-gained-putting statistic.
Look good on and off the green
High-tops, jumpers and flat-brims: words you would typically never hear in the realm of golf fashion. But watching a PGA Tour event, it’s evident that the traditional khaki pant has become an endangered species. Check out these 7 trendy clothing brands that will help you look good on the green.
Trickshot artist wins on Web.com
Wesley Bryan found fame by hitting crazy trick shots with his brother George on YouTube and the Golf Channel’s Big Break, but now he has a Web.com victory to his name. The Web.com Tour rookie was able to close out the Louisana Open, firing a final-round 68 to win by 1 shot over Julian Etulain.
Countdown to Augusta - 16 days
Contender: Phil Mickelson
Odds to win: 15 to 1
Masters Record: 3-time Masters Champion (‘04, ‘06, ‘10), 8 top 5 finishes (‘96, ‘01, ‘02, ‘03, ‘08, ‘09, ‘12, ‘15)
Following a new instructor (Andrew Getson) and significant swing changes from the off season, Phil Mickelson seems to be rejuvenated. With Getson’s help, the 3-time Masters champ has been able to regain the power and accuracy the lefty has been missing the past two years. The change has found Mickelson contending early and often in 2016, with near wins at the CB Challenge, AT&T Pebble Beach and the WGC at Doral. At age 45, Mickelson just may become the oldest player to win the Green Jacket since Jack Nicklaus was able to do so at age 46 in 1986.
Medalist Golf Club - Home to Tiger & Rickie
On a recent visit to the sunshine state, I was invited to play Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound. Due to its world-class course, exclusive membership and golf-first mentality, the Medalist has attracted some of the Tour’s best as members, including Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler & Dustin Johnson. Click here to view our full description and photo tour.