Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

DeChambeau’s long drives, putts pivotal at Bay Hill


The long ball helped Bryson DeChambeau outlast Lee Westwood on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitation­al, only the key shots were as much with his putter as his driver.

DeChambeau holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the front nine and a 50-foot par putt early on the back nine. He closed it out with a nervy 5-foot par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over the 47-yearold Westwood in Orlando, Fla.

It matched the low score of the day, one of only three rounds under par in the toughest final round at Bay Hill in 41 years.

DeChambeau and Westwood were never separated by more than one shot over the final 15 holes, a fascinatin­g duel of generation­s that came down to the last shot.

For the second straight day, DeChambeau revved up thousands of fans on the par-5 sixth hole by smashing driver over the lake and leaving himself 88 yards away on the 565-yard sixth hole. Westwood was 168 yards behind him, and raised both arms to jokingly mimic DeChambeau’s reaction from the day before. They both made birdie.

DeChambeau appeared to be in trouble on the 11th when he narrowly missed going in the water off the tee, caught a plugged lie in the front bunker and gouged it out to 50 feet. He made that for par to stay ahead by one.

Westwood tied him with a 30foot birdie putt on the par-5 12th, only to give it back with a threeputt on the 14th. The tournament turned on the par-5 16th, where it was Westwood who had the edge.

DeChambeau’s drive went up against the lip of a bunker and he had to lay up short of the water. Westwood had 158 yards and hit a poor short iron that came up short of the green. He chipped nicely, except that it rolled out 6 feet by the hole on the lightningq­uick greens and he missed the birdie for a chance to tie.

They were tied going to the 18th when DeChambeau hit his most important drive of the day — in the fairway. Westwood’s tee shot settled in a divot, and he did well to get it on the green and twoputt from 65 feet. DeChambeau’s birdie putt slid by some 5 feet and he shook his arms in celebratio­n when the par putt dropped.

Westwood closed with a 73, not a bad score considerin­g the average of 75.49 was the highest for a final round since 1980.

ETC.: Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka withdrew from The Players Championsh­ip next week with what his manager described as a strained right knee. Koepka won the Phoenix Open last month and was a runner-up in the Workday Championsh­ip last week.

• Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championsh­ip for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala in Ocala, Fla.

Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 15-under 273, after being tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day.

Kupcho, coming off a closing eagle Saturday, had a double bogey and three bogeys in a 74.

Ernst gave the United States three straight wins to open a season for the first time since 2007, following sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda in the first two events of the year. time and dropped to third, 0.37 behind the winner, Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.

“It took (two) minutes to fix a gate, that should take 30 seconds,” Shiffrin said. “I just felt like she is a good enough skier to win these races on her own and doesn’t need this unprofessi­onal act from something that she doesn’t have control over, I don’t have control over, but just to say, ‘Oh, she is in the lead, let’s see if we can do something to get into (Shiffrin’s) head.’ ”

While Shiffrin acknowledg­ed interrupti­ons are a common part of the sport, she said the lengthy delay was not necessary this time.

“It’s one thing if an athlete falls and gets injured, but it’s another thing when it’s fixing a gate and that takes (two) minutes with two people and they can’t find the flag, or I don’t know what was happening,” the American said.

“It was a bit ridiculous and that’s really obvious,” she added.

• Marco Odermatt dominated the penultimat­e men’s World Cup super-G of the season in SaalbachHi­nterglemm, Austria, to keep himself in the race for the discipline title. The Swiss skier finished his gutsy run on the Schneekris­tall course 0.62 seconds ahead of runner-up Matthieu Bailet.

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