By Brian O’Hare
ADAM SCOTT’S putting once again deserted him in the final round of a featured golfing event but you’ve got to buy in at least a little to the fairy-tale win by local golfer Matt Every.
With the world number one spot well within his sights, Scott shot a record equalling 10-under 62 in the first round of the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational, had a near record lead after the second round … then had a weekend to forget.
The 33 year old still had a three stroke lead going into the final round at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando but was overtaken mid round after a string of birdies by Every.
It was Scott, the reigning US Master’s champion going for his 11th US PGA Tour win and with the chance of defending his Augusta National title as world No.1 (he would have automatically attained that spot after two weeks of both he and Tiger Woods playing no further events before the Masters) against Every, the 30 year old still looking for his first win after 92 starts – and at a tournament he used to attend as a starry-eyed kid dreaming that one day he would be one of the ones inside the ropes.
As the round progressed, Scott continued to display his magnificent driving and ball striking – looking every bit the world No.1 – but just couldn’t get his putter working.
Every, nine behind Scott after the second round, overtook him with a clutch of birdies on 9, 10, 12 and 13 before letting the obvious pressure get to him with bogies on 16 and 18.
Scott had a chance to make up his two shot deficit on 16 with two great shots into the par 5 green only to miss his eagle attempt from 20 feet and then the birdie from close.
In the end, Every finished on 13-under after his 2-under 70, a stroke in front of Scott’s final pairing partner Keegan Bradley ( 72) with Scott third on 11-under after posting a 4-over 76.
“It’s hard. It’s tough,” Every said as he wiped away tears. “You never know if it’s going to happen. It’s nice to get it done. It’s really cool. I’ve been really close. I’ve had a ton of looks. I still can’t believe I won.”
Every, who grew up 90 minutes away and as a youngster was ferried to the tournament by his dad, will now have an invitation to his first Major, the US Masters in three weeks.
That’s a tournament obviously very much on the mind of a disappointed Scott.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don’t,” the Australian said. “And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I’m annoyed that I didn’t do better today.”
Scott had 63 putts over the final two rounds, including 32 on Sunday.
“Today was a bit shaky,” he admitted. “It was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. 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 will spend the next few days at Augusta National before going home to the Bahamas to regroup.
“If nothing else, it’s a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do before going to the Masters and just how important it is,” he said. “And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that’s, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win.”
The next best placed Aussies were Matt Jones (72) tied for 14th on 5-under, Marc Leishman (71) T31 on 2-under and Aaron Baddeley (77) also ruing his poor final round after finishing on 1-under tied for 35th.
2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational Leaderboard2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational Leaderboard