Scottie Scheffler had to overcome not only a stacked field to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but also some brutal conditions that left many of the world’s top golfers reeling from a grueling weekend of action.
Scheffler’s gutsy win at Bay Hill was his second title in three starts after winning February’s Phoenix Open, victories that will push the 25-year-old American into the world’s top five for the first time.
Extra long rough and rapid greens were compounded by windy conditions over the weekend, but Scheffler recorded a bogey free back nine – including two impressive par saves on 15 and 16 – to take home the $2.16 million prize money.
“It feels great to be able to win here,” Scheffler told reporters after finishing on five-under par, one clear of Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel and Tyrrell Hatton.
“To be completely honest with you, right now I’m exhausted. This course is a total beatdown trying to play. I’m very pleased I didn’t have to play any extra holes today.”
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Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy hit eight-over par across the weekend to drop to one over for the tournament and a tie for 13th.
“I feel punch drunk, to be honest,” McIlroy, who at one point snapped a club in frustration, told reporters. “It’s like crazy golf. You just don’t get rewarded for good shots. It can knock your confidence whenever the conditions are like this.”
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American Gary Woodland had a share of the lead going into the final two holes, but a costly double bogey on 17 meant he eventually dropped back to a tie for fifth on three-under.
“I’m glad I’m off that golf course, I’m glad I’m done,” Woodland said. “Frustrating. I played a lot better than the score showed. I can take a lot of positives, but it stings right now.”