ORLANDO, Fla. – Matt Every is finally a winner on the PGA Tour, and he’s still not sure how it happened.
He was nine shots behind Masters champion Adam Scott going into the weekend at Bay Hill. He was still four back of the Australian he referred to as a stud going into the final round Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Every figured even par over the last three holes would do the trick. He made two bogeys.
Even after a hearty handshake from the tournament host and a shiny trophy an arm’s length away from, Every summed up this wild day with just the right words.
I ... I ... I can’t believe I won, he said. I just ... I really can’t.
The tee shot that he feared might be out-of-bounds on No. 9 somehow bounced along a cart path and led to an unlikely birdie. He surged to a three-shot lead when Scott’s touch with the putter vanished. Even with two bogeys on the last three holes – he missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th – Every still closed with a 2-under 70.
The last bogey made him sweat out the finish. Keegan Bradley, who birdied the 16th and 17th holes, had a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff. It was similar to the putt Tiger Woods has made so often to win at Bay Hill. Bradley’s putt stayed left of the hole, and he finished one shot behind.
Every finished at 13-under 275, one shot ahead of Bradley, who needed two late birdies for a 72. Scott was third.
In his 92nd start as a pro on the PGA Tour, Every finally won at just the right time and just the right place.
Scott finished alone in third. He had to win Bay Hill to reach No. 1 in the world ranking when he arrived at Augusta National. Now, the No. 1 spot that Woods has held for the last year will be up for grabs at the Masters among Woods, Scott and Henrik Stenson, who tied for fifth at Bay Hill.
LPGA: In Phoenix, Karrie Webb flew up the leader board with a course-record 9-under 63, then waited about 90 minutes to see whether anyone could catch her in the JTBC Founders Cup.
No one could, giving the 39-year-old Australian her second victory of the season and second in four years at Desert Ridge.
Third-round leader Lydia Ko parred the final three holes to finish a stroke back along with 2013 winner Stacy Lewis, Azahara Munoz, Amy Yang and Mirim Lee.
CHAMPIONS: In Saucier, Miss., 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.
Billy Andrade, who started the day tied with Fred Funk for the lead, shot a 71 to finish in second.
Maggert finished the tournament with an 11-under 205.