Matt Every Defends Bay Hill Title

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Matt Every Defends Bay Hill Title

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everyfamilyThe Arnold Palmer Invitational has always had a special place in Matt Every’s heart. As a child, growing up in Daytona Beach, just one hour north and east of Bay Hill, Every remembers making trips over with his dad and his dad’s buddies to watch Mark Calcavecchia play.

“I grew up coming to this tournament,” Every said . “My dad would take me over here with his buddies and he would let me just roam around and we would meet up four hours later. I would go watch Calcavecchia play all 18 and they would sit up on a hill somewhere and watch every group come through and drink. I would walk around the whole course and we would meet up after. I was 12 years old so it was pretty cool.”

While Calc never won the Arnold Palmer Invitational (his best finish being a T4 in 1998), Every has, twice.

Both times were come from behind victories. In 2014, Every ran down Adam Scott on Sunday from four strokes back to win. This year it was Morgan Hoffmann and Henrik Stenson (Hoffmann was one clear of him entering Sunday, while Stenson was three ahead).

Every shot a final round 6-under 66 to secure the win that included a bride putt from the left edge of the green on 18 that ultimately won it.

“I walked up to the green and this guy in the crowd kept coughing ‘straight putt, straight putt’,” Every said. “And I was like, this guy’s a real {jerk} if he’s lying to me because that’s a pretty important moment. I looked over it pretty hard and I didn’t see anything so I was like it’s a great putt to have under pressure because all I had to do was get it going.”

Every said that one of the coolest parts of the putt was the fact that he has seen putts like that drop for wins on TV but this time he got to actually have the opportunity to make the putt.

“You watch tournaments on TV and guys are making 20 footers on the last and everyone goes nuts and it’s cool to close one out like that.”

Stenson had a 20 footer just like that to force a playoff with Every but the putt slid right of the hole and he missed the playoff by one shot.

Stenson and Hoffmann both had the lead at different points during the day on Sunday, with both fading late and opening the door for Every to defend his title.

Stesnon would have had to make this at 18 to force a playoff

Stesnon would have had to make this at 18 to force a playoff

Hoffmann and Stenson, who played together in the final group Sunday, were “put on the clock” for slow play several times in the final round starting on the sixth hole. After getting back in place for a while, they were putt back on the clock on the 15th hole. Coincidence or not, Stenson three-putted on both 15 and 16 and lost the lead to Every. He was not pleased about it either after the round.

“We got on the clock on 6 and had to rush it a bit there on 6, 7 and 8,” Stenson said. “Really problems kind of started on 15. We got on the clock again, which when you’re coming down the stretch, you want to be able to have five extra seconds not to try and rush your routines and playing. So, on the green, I didn’t really have much time to look at my putt and rushed that one a little bit, the first one, and three-putted. Morgan got a bad time on his second shot on 16 and again I kind of rushed my putting on 16 and three-putted that one. That’s what really cost me the tournament — those two three-putts on 15 and 16. I was 19-under and with 16 playing fairly short, I hit a lovely shot. But I was in between clubs and close to go with the longer club. You’d rather be five yards past than five yards short. Left a sneaky putt and being on the clock didn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure.”

Stenson losing the lead on Sunday, continued an odd streak on the PGA Tour. The 54-hole leader has failed to convert in nine straight events. The last 54-hole leader to convert was Bill Haas at the Humana Championship back in January.

The win for Every not only was the second of his career, it also puts him back in the Masters for the second straight year. He admitted afterwards that while Stenson was lining up for his putt on 18 that it was definitely on his mind.

“When Henrik missed that putt, that was the No. 1 thing on my mind: ‘You’re already in. Miss it, I need to get in.’”

With the tournament being so close to Every’s childhood home in Daytona Beach, and home now in Jacksonville, Every had the support of plenty of family and friends this week in Orlando, including his wife, son Liam, and daughter Quinn Palmer Every who’s middle name is in honor of the man who the tournament is named after, Arnold Palmer.

“I had a lot of immediate family here this week,” Every said. ” I had some Aunts and Uncles here. All of my friends, my group I have in Jacksonville, they were all here this week. It was a blast. I know they were having fun, I heard them all day.”

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About Dan Hauser

As an avid golfer and sports enthusiast, Dan has had a passion for sports starting at a very young age. Dan’s other passion has always been writing. Since the time he could write, he has always enjoyed sharing information with people and telling stories through writing. In middle school he combined his two loves by joining the school newspaper in the sports department.

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