Australian native Marc Leishman emerged as winner of the 1st Arnold Palmer Invitational since Arnie’s passing, not before making a 51 foot eagle putt to leapfrog into the lead. This is only Leishman’s 2nd PGA Tour victory but the 2009 PGA Rookie of the Year has many top-5 finishes, including in a few majors, and vaults to 31st in the Official World Golf Rankings.
The most exciting golfer of the weekend, Rory McIlroy, overcame a poor 1st round, made a charge but ultimately finished t-4th, bogeying hole-18. Rory plays aggressive and consequently this tournament, lost many strokes due to penalties and three-putts. Rory’s question mark is putting but that shouldn’t mean approach greens with wedges everytime instead of short irons, waving no regard to caution. Less errors may result in a victory soon for OWGR’s 2nd ranked player.
Englishman Tyrrell Hatton also finished t-4th, continuing a string of strong finishes. Fellow countryman and European Tour’s “Race to Dubai” points leader, Tommy Fleetwood finished strong again in North America. Together, they are sleeper picks for future majors. Include young Matthew Fitzpatrick if he puts four rounds together.
Below are Hatton’s finishes since early October 2016, indicating his rise.
A Canadian note, Adam Hadwin finished 6th and is getting married during the WGC-Match Play. He will be back for The Masters.
The next stop on schedule is the WGC-Match Play, featuring the game’s best. Also this week is the PGA Puerto Rico Open, a tourney for those looking for exemptions/tour cards or more fun in the sun.