Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Matt Every came from behind on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a second straight year.
Every fired a 6-under 66 to end at 19-under-par 269. He followed Tiger Woods as the second straight back-to-back winner at this event.
“Last year, I just made everything, but this year, for me, I was driving it really good and my irons were spot in. The accuracy was great,” Every said. “I kind of had a feeling. I was shaking some of those putts in late, but the one on 18 was straight downhill and that’s want you want under pressure. It was pretty straight, so that was nice.”
Third-round leader Henrik Stenson posted a 2-under 70. The Swede finished alone in second at minus-18. Stenson was the ninth straight 54-hole leader that failed to win.
Matt Jones, who will defend his title in two weeks at the Houston Open, carded a 4-under 68 in the final round at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge to grab third place 17-under-par 271.
Morgan Hoffmann, who led after the first and second rounds, closed with his second straight 71 to slide into fourth place at minus-15. Ben Martin (71) took fifth at minus-14.
Kevin Na and Kiradech Aphibarnrat both shot 69 on Sunday. They shared sixth place at 13-under-par 275 with Jason Kokrak (72).
Every missed the green at the first, and that led to an opening bogey. He dropped four strokes off the pace, and when Stenson birdied the first, Every was five behind.
After a par at the second, Every started his rally with a 21-foot birdie effort on No. 3. He made it two in a row with a 5-foot birdie putt on the fourth.
Every drained birdie chances at the sixth and eighth, but was still two behind Hoffmann, who had taken the lead.
Around the turn, Every poured in a 25-footer for birdie at 10. He made it two in a row as he dropped in a 4-foot birdie putt on the 11th. That gave him a share of the lead at 18-under.
Every, who was in the third-to-last group out, stayed there as he ran off six consecutive pars from the 12th. He drained a 17-foot birdie putt at the last to post 19-under.
“Lot of friends and family out here this week. The support was awesome,” said Every. “I know how hard it is to win, but there is no time for that on the course, you know, letting your emotions get to you.”
Stenson and Hoffmann traded the lead on the front nine. Stenson birdied the first and fourth to move to 18-under. Meanwhile, Hoffmann birdied the first and third.
At the fifth, a 2-shot swing helped Hoffmann grab a share of the lead. Stenson 3-putted for bogey, while Hoffmann knocked in a 3-footer for birdie.
Hoffmann birdied the sixth and eighth, both from eight feet out, to grab a 2- stroke lead at 18-under. A poor approach at the ninth led to a bogey for Hoffmann, but he was still up by one.
Stenson birdied the 11th and 12th to grab the lead at minus-19. Hoffmann dropped shots at 12 and 13 to slide to 16-under. He got one back with a birdie at 16, but hit his drive out of bounds at 18 and closed with a double-bogey.
After being put on the clock, Stenson 3-putted for bogey at the 15th. He also 3-putted for par on the par-5 16th. He was one back at that point, and closed with a pair of pars to end there.
“Obviously, I’m a little bit disappointed with the outcome, but I’m more disappointed with the PGA Tour officials for putting us on the clock on 15, starting to chase us down the stretch,” Stenson said. “It’s basically now trying to close out a golf tournament and to play those finishing holes without being on the clock. I didn’t see any reason for that really.”
NOTES: Every joined Ryan Moore and Jimmy Walker as the three players that have successfully defended titles on the PGA Tour this season … Every earned $1.134 million for his second PGA Tour win … Zach Johnson holed his second shot at the par-5 16th for an albatross, the second albatross in two days as Daniel Berger had one at the sixth on Saturday … Brooks Koepka withdrew during the final round due to a dislocated rib … The PGA Tour heads to San Antonio next week for the Texas Open, where Steven Bowditch will defend his title.