|Every rallies for 1st tour win at Bay Hill|
|Sunday, March 23, 2014 8:05 PM|
ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Every is finally a winner on the PGA Tour and he’s still not sure how it happened.
He was nine shots behind Masters champion Adam Scott going into the weekend at Bay Hill. He was still four back of the Australian he referred to as a “stud” going into the final round Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Every figured even par over the last three holes would do the trick. He made two bogeys.
Even after a hearty handshake from the tournament host and a shiny trophy an arm’s length away from, Every summed up this wild day with just the right words.
“I … I … I can’t believe I won,” he said. “I just … I really can’t.”
The tee shot that he feared might be out-of-bounds on No. 9 somehow bounced along a cart path and led to an unlikely birdie. He surged to a 3-shot lead when Scott’s touch with the putter vanished. Even with two bogeys on the last three holes — he missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th — Every still closed with a 2-under 70.
The last bogey made him sweat out the finish. Keegan Bradley, who birdied the 16th and 17th holes, had a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff. It was similar to the putt Tiger Woods has made so often to win at Bay Hill. Bradley’s putt stayed left of the hole, and he finished one shot behind.
Every finished at 13-under 275, one shot ahead of Bradley, who needed two late birdies for a 72. Scott was third.
In his 92nd start as a pro on the PGA Tour, Every finally won at just the right time and just the right place.
The 30-year-old who grew up 90 minutes away in Daytona Beach used to come to Bay Hill as a kid to watch the tournament. And he beat the Masters champion to earn his own spot in the Masters next month.
“Being close to winning out here, it can be kind of discouraging because if you don’t win, you just wonder if it’s ever going to happen,” Every explained. “And sometimes you tell yourself, ‘Well, maybe it’s meant to be somewhere else, somewhere better.’ I don’t see how it could get much better than this — being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”
It was a nightmare for Scott.
He shattered the Bay Hill record by taking a seven-shot lead after 36 holes and still led by three shots over Bradley going into Sunday. His putting stroke betrayed him. Scott made only five bogeys over 54 holes. He made five on Sunday alone. And he didn’t make a birdie over the last 14 holes for a 76.
“I’m annoyed that I didn’t do better today,” Scott said. “Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on yourself. Sometimes you don’t. And I think I was getting into a really good spot, and an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I’m taking confidence anyway, from just some good play. But some opportunities you’ve got to take.”
Cocky by nature, Every choked back tears when he realized he had won.
“It’s hard,” he added, 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.”
He made it hard on himself.
Every had a 3-shot lead on the par-5 16th hole — the easiest at Bay Hill — when he drove into the woods, hit a tree trying to pitch out, laid up short of the water to play it safe and had to grind out a bogey. Scott, playing in the final group behind him, drilled 6-iron to 20 feet for an eagle putt that would have tied him for the lead.
He three-putted for par.
It was the second time in six tournaments that Scott lost a big lead on the last day. He had a 4-shot advantage in the Australian Open and lost on the final hole to Rory McIlroy. This time, he didn’t even have a realistic chance playing the 18th.
“I really think the putting has let me down on both of those occasions,” Scott added. “Today was a bit shaky. But this course was asking a lot of everyone today and my short game just wasn’t there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure.”
Scott finished alone in third. He had to win Bay Hill to reach No. 1 in the world ranking when he arrived at Augusta National. Now, the No. 1 spot that Woods has held for the last year will be up for grabs at the Masters among Woods, Scott and Henrik Stenson, who tied for fifth at Bay Hill.
Until Sunday, about the only time Every made news on the PGA Tour was when he was arrested and jailed on a misdemeanor drug possession charge at the 2010 John Deere Classic after agents were called to a casino hotel because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from the room he was in.
Every paid the price with a 3-month suspension that kept him from retaining his PGA Tour card. He once said earning his card back was his greatest achievement, though that sure takes a seat back to his win at Bay Hill.
“It’s just cool that I can say that I won on the PGA Tour,” Every added. “But I always felt like my game was plenty good enough to win out here.”
Karrie Webb rallies to win JTBC Founders Cup
PHOENIX — Karrie Webb flew up the leaderboard with a course-record 9-under 63, then waited about 90 minutes to see if anyone could catch her in the JTBC Founders Cup.
No one could, giving the 39-year-old Australian her second victory of the season and second in four years at Desert Ridge. She won the Women’s Australian Open last month and has 41 LPGA Tour victories.
For the second time in the event, Webb overcame a 6-stroke deficit in the final round to win. In 2011, she closed with a 66 for a 1-stroke victory.
The Hall-of-Famer birdied five of the last six holes, making a 20-footer on the 18th.
Third-round leader Lydia Ko parred the final three holes to finish a stroke back along with 2013 winner Stacy Lewis, Azahara Munoz, Amy Yang and Mirim Lee.
Maggert wins at Fallen Oak in Champions Tour debut
SAUCIER, Miss. — Jeff Maggert admitted his decisive putt on No. 17 at Fallen Oak wasn’t supposed to be one that actually dropped. He was just trying to get it close.
So when the 50-foot putt rolled up and down a big ridge as it broke from left to right — and then fell into the hole — the Champions Tour rookie was as surprised as anyone.
He had been consistent all week. Now just a little bit of luck had pushed him to victory at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak on Sunday.
Maggert became the 17th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut, shooting a 4-under 68 to capture his first victory since the 2006 St. Jude’s Classic on the PGA Tour.
The 50-year-old fell into a tie for the lead with Billy Andrade after making bogey on No. 16 but responded with the astonishing putt that pushed him back ahead.
When it dropped, Maggert shook his head in disbelief. He finished the tournament with an 11-under 205.
Maggert is a 3-time PGA Tour winner who turned 50 in February. His consistent weekend included a 68 on Friday, a 69 on Saturday and he capped his debut performance at Fallen Oak with four birdies on the back nine on Sunday to earn the $240,000 paycheck.
Andrade, who started the day tied with Fred Funk for the lead, shot a 71 to finish in second two strokes back.
Andrade and Funk started the final round on top of a tight leaderboard, with a 1-stroke lead over Fred Couples, Jay Haas and Maggert. The round was pushed back two hours because of rain but the slightly soggy course didn’t affect scoring much.
Funk fell off the pace quickly, finishing with a 75. Haas was steady but could never get on a roll and shot a 71 to finish tied for third with Bernhard Langer, who jumped up the leaderboard with a 68.
Couples — who won the Toshiba Classic last week — faded after shooting a 66 to take a two-stroke lead in the opening round. He shot a 72 on Sunday to finish fifth.
That left Andrade as Maggert’s biggest challenger. The 50-year-old was playing in just his fourth Champions Tour event and had the lead at the turn,but made three bogeys on the back nine to fall out of contention.
Andrade hasn’t played much the past four years while working part-time as an analyst for The Golf Channel. He said Sunday’s back nine was frustrating but that the weekend had shown him “that I still do have a little talent and I can play with these guys.”
Mexico’s Ortiz wins first Web.com Tour title
PANAMA CITY — Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz won the Panama Claro Championship on Sunday for his first Web.com Tour title, closing with a 6-under 64 for a 4-stroke victory.
The 22-year-old former North Texas player finished at 12-under 268 at Panama Golf Club and earned $112,500 to jump from seventh to second on the money list with $171,500.
Jason Gore was second after a 66. Daniel Berger, Derek Fathauer and Aron Price, the second-round leader, tied for third at 7 under. Berger and Fathauer shot 67 and Price had a 70.
Alex Cejka, the winner of the season-opening Colombia Championship and second last week in the Brazil Champions, tied for 11th at 4 under after a 69. He earned $13,750 to push his tour-leading total to $235,150.
China’s Yueer Cindy Feng wins Symetra Tour event
LAKE WALES, Fla. — China’s Yueer Cindy Feng won the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic on Sunday for her first Symetra Tour title.
The 18-year-old Feng closed with a 5-under 67 to finish at 9-under 207 at Lake Wales Country Club. She eagled the par-5 10th and had five birdies and two bogeys.
Feng has lived in Orlando since 2005.
Making her third start on the tour, Feng earned $18,750 to jump from 10th to first on the money list with $22,484. The top 10 at the end of the season will earn LPGA Tour cards.
She parred the final six holes.
Megan McChrystal, Jackie Stoelting and Canada’s Maude-Aimee Leblanc — the second-round leader — tied for second, four strokes back. McChrystal shot 67, Stoelting 71 and Leblanc 72.
Golf changes criteria, voting for Hall of Fame
ORLANDO, Fla. — The World Golf Hall of Fame is changing the criteria, voting process and timing of player inductions.
No one has been elected this year while the criteria went through an overhaul. The next induction will be May 2015.
Officials have eliminated the PGA Tour and International ballots for men. Instead, the four categories will be for men, women, veterans and lifetime achievement. Active players must have 15 wins on major tours or two majors.
The biggest change is the voting. Instead of a panel of media, golf dignitaries and Hall of Fame member, a 16-person panel will do the voting. The majority of that panel is golf administrators, along with three golf writers and four Hall of Fame members. A 20-person panel will nominate potential inductees.