Bryson DeChambeau gathered the crowds with his long drives, while using his putter to seal a one-shot victory Sunday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational near Orlando, Fla.
DeChambeau made a 5-foot par putt at 18 to win it, finishing at 11-under par in front of a limited crowd at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, just out front of England’s Lee Westwood, while Canada’s Corey Conners finished alone in third place at 8 under.
DeChambeau’s 1-under 71 in the final round matched the low round of the day with Andrew Putnam and England’s Matt Wallace. They were the only three in the field to break par during a sunny but windy final round.
The victory was DeChambeau’s first victory since a dominating run to the U.S. Open title in September.
While low scores were hard to come by, the conditions did allow for DeChambeau to take a gamble with his tee shot at No. 6 for the second consecutive day. Instead of following the fairway along a lake on the par-5 hole, DeChambeau took a short cut over the water with a breeze mostly in his favor.
His 376-yard drive found a bunker 88 yards from the pin, changing the dynamics of what is regularly a 565-yard hole. His second shot missed the green, but he scrambled for a birdie 4 to reach 11 under and found himself alone in the lead when Westwood bogeyed the seventh hole.
Westwood tied DeChambeau again at 11 under with a birdie at No. 12, but fell out of the top spot with a three-putt bogey at No. 14.
DeChambeau made a 37-foot putt for a birdie at No. 4, a 49-foot putt for par at No. 11 and a knee-knocking 4-foot par putt at 17 with the pressure on after he blasted his birdie putt past the hole.
On the par-4 18th hole, Dechambeau hit his drive to the center of the fairway, hit his approach shot to the center of the green and again putted past the hole. He then drained another pressure-packed putt, this one from 5 feet to earn the victory.
The 47-year-old Westwood was unable to gain any momentum, shooting a 1-over 73 on Sunday after taking a one-shot lead through three rounds. Conners shot a 2-over 74 in the final round.
Putnam, Jordan Spieth and Richy Werenski finished in a tie for fourth place 6 under. Spieth shot a 3-over 75 on Sunday after starting the day two shots off the lead.
The breezy conditions proved difficult for a few final-round contenders. Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy shot a 4 over 76 and finished in a tie for 10th place at 3 under.
Keegan Bradley, whose 64 in the third round was the low round of the tournament, shot 6-over 78 on Sunday and also finished tied for 10th with McIlroy and six others, including Max Homa, who won the Genesis Invitational last month.
–Field Level Media