Every breaks through as Scott falters
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard | Wrap | 24 Mar 2014
In one of the more intriguing final rounds of the PGA Tour in recent times, 30 year old Matt Every has won his first PGA Tour title after coming from four behind overnight leader Adam Scott to take the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge by one shot over Keegan Bradley.
Every, who won the Nationwide Tour Championship in 2009 to get him to the PGA Tour, has gone close on several occasions including when runner-up at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic 18 months ago.
This season however he has begun to play with a lot more consistency, racking up four top tens prior to his breakthrough this week.
When so many of those around him were moving backwards, Every was solid through the opening nine holes and when he birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine he was at 15 under and was ahead by three.
He bogeyed the 16th, after a technical mistake from the tee and perhaps a mental mistake with his second when trying to bite off more then he needed when laying up, but even a bogey from behind the green at the last would not allow his chasers the chance to catch him.
With Scott continuing to falter it would be his playing partner Keegan Bradley who emerged as the one remaining danger to Every. Bradley birdied the 16th and 17th to get within two but when Every, playing in the group ahead, bogeyed the last the gap was just one.
Bradley found the green at the last some 30 feet from the hole. His putt to tie looked perfect with just a few feet to travel but missed and the title was Every’s.
Every moves inside the top fifty in the game and gains a start at Augusta National for the very first occasion.
Scott had led by seven through 36 holes and by three through 54 holes but a short missed putt at the first set the tone for the day. He then found the water at the 3rd and although he appeared to steady things at the 4th when he birdied the par five he continued to struggle.
He bogeyed the 14th to fall three behind but gave himself an opportunity to close to gap when he hit a great drive and approach to the par five 16th. A three putt par though essentially put paid to his chances and he eventually finished in 3rd place, admittedly good, but a result that promised so much better.
A win by Scott would have got him within .17 of a point of Tiger Woods and with both unlikely to play next week or in Houston then he would have been the world number one on the eve of the Masters. That was of course if he had won and golf tends to be full of ifs and buts.
Despite one or two glaring examples at the 2012 Open Championship and the 2013 Australian Open, Scott has generally been a very good front runner, especially earlier in his career.
When asked early in the week of the Australian Open as to his front running record, Scott responded thoughtfully.
“I think I just kind of carried that over from junior golf and figured that really the times that I was winning tournaments early in my career were the times I was playing well. I don’t think I had the complete game to not play well and win at that point. I was either playing well or playing bad and when I was playing well I had a chance to win, and I was in front and I was playing well, so why go backwards. It’s kind of that simple.
“Whereas now I’m a much more complete player and some weeks I don’t have to play my best stuff to be in with a chance. You can be a few in front but not playing great and it’s a little harder to just keep your foot on the gas because you might not have complete control over your swing or where the shots are starting.”
The comments made a lot of sense but he will be questioning one or two disappointing meltdowns in recent times.
Matt Jones was the next best Australian when he finished 14th, Danny Lee continued his good recent form when 21st and Marc Leishman was 31st.
The PGA Tour now moves to San Antonio in Texxas for the Valero Texas Open.