For a while late on Sunday afternoon in Bay Hill in Orlando, it was anyone’s tournament to win. And in the end, a former PGA Tour Rookie of the Year made a humongous eagle late and captured the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Marc Leishman won for the first time in 5 years after making this eagle on the 16th (70th of the tournament) and separating himself from Kevin Kisner, Charley Hoffman and a charging Rory McIlroy:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 19, 2017
McIlroy who had put himself in position with a Saturday 65, had tied for the lead at -10 late in the final round. But he knew Leishman had made the eagle hearing the roars behind him and seeing the scoreboard change on the 18th hole. McIlory then raced his 30 foot birdie that he knew he needed to be -11, well past the hole, and eventually, missed the par to finish -9 and two back.
Kisner, who missed narrowly winning the Players a year ago, had his chances to tie Leishman at 18, but found a green side bunker, could not hole out for birdie and sudden death. Hoffman squandered his chance with bogeys at 16 and 17, but did birdie the last to finish tied for second.
It was the first edition of the API, since the death of the legend Arnold Palmer in September.
Back to the Australian Leishman, the win not only places him in Augusta for the Masters in two weeks, but is the first since his wife Audrey had a serious health situation in April of 2015 and remained in a life threatening coma for an extended period of time.
It made it all the more special when Audrey and Leishman’s two young boys were there to greet him on the 18th and celebrate the win Sunday night (above).