ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Every always believed he would finally win on the PGA Tour. He couldn’t have imagined it happening Sunday at Bay Hill.
Nine shots out of the lead going into the weekend, still four shots behind Adam Scott going into the final round, Every took advantage of a surprising collapse by the Masters champion and held on to the very end for a 2-under 70 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Every made two bogeys in the last three holes, including a 4-foot par putt he missed on the 18th hole. That forced him to wait 10 excruciating minutes to see if Keegan Bradley could force a playoff. Bradley’s 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole missed on the left side.
Cocky by nature, Every choked back tears when he realized he had won in his 92nd try as a professional.
“It’s hard,” he said, stopping to compose himself. “It’s tough, man. You just never know if it’s going to happen. You get there so many times. It’s nice to get it done.”
Scott closed with a 76 to finish third. He had to win to reach No. 1 when he arrived at the Masters. Now, the No. 1 spot held by Tiger Woods for the last year will be up for grabs at Augusta among Woods, Scott and Henrik Stenson, who tied for fifth at Bay Hill.
Every finished at 13-under 275, one shot ahead of Bradley, who needed two late birdies for a 72.
Along with getting into the Masters, Every qualifies for two World Golf Championships and the PGA Championship.
Jason Kokrak closed with a 73 to finish alone in fourth. Erik Compton, twice a recipient of a heart transplant, shot 69 and tied for fifth with Stenson and Francesco Molinari of Italy (73).
Maggert wins Champions Tour debut
SAUCIER, Miss. — Jeff Maggert became the 17th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut, shooting a 4-under 68 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.
Maggert fell into a tie for the lead with Billy Andrade after making bogey on No. 16, but responded with an astonishing, 50-foot putt for birdie on No. 17 that pushed him back ahead.
Andrade, who started the day tied with Fred Funk for the lead, shot a 71 to finish in second two strokes back.
Maggert finished the tournament with an 11-under 205.