ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Every always believed he would finally win on the PGA Tour. He couldn’t have imagined it happening Sunday at Bay Hill.
Nine shots out of the lead going into the weekend, still four shots behind Adam Scott going into the final round, Every took advantage of a surprising collapse by the Masters champion and held on to the very end for a 2-under 70 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Every made two bogeys in the last three holes, including a 4-foot par putt he missed on the 18th hole. That forced him to wait 10 excruciating minutes to see if Keegan Bradley could force a playoff. Bradley’s 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole missed on the left side.
Cocky by nature, Every choked back tears when he realized he had won in his 92nd try as a professional.
“It’s hard,” he said, 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.”
Scott, in his final tournament before he defends his title at Augusta National, came undone.
Along with two quick bogeys to start his round, he didn’t make a birdie over the final 14 holes. Nothing summed up his awful day like the par-5 16th, the easiest at Bay Hill. Every made a bogey to fall to 14-under par. Scott, playing behind him in the final group, had a 20-foot eagle putt on the 16th to tie for the lead. He ran it 4 feet by, and then missed that for a three-putt par.
Scott closed with a 76 to finish third. He had to win to reach No. 1 when he arrived at the Masters. Now, the No. 1 spot held by Tiger Woods for the last year will be up for grabs at Augusta among Woods, Scott and Henrik Stenson, who tied for fifth at Bay Hill.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: Jeff Maggert became the 17th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut, shooting a 4-under 68 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak.
Maggert fell into a tie for the lead with Billy Andrade after making bogey on No. 16, but responded with an astonishing, 50-foot putt for birdie on No. 17 that pushed him back ahead.
Maggert’s decisive putt had a large break from left to right and was over a ridge, and the 50-year-old struck it perfectly, shaking his head in disbelief after it fell in the hole.
Andrade, who started the day tied with Fred Funk for the lead, shot a 71 to finish in second two strokes back.
Maggert finished the tournament with an 11-under 205.
LPGA: 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 in Phoenix.
No one could, giving the 39-year-old Australian a one-stroke victory over third-round leader Lydia Ko. Webb birdied five of the last six holes.