Australian Marc Leishman pulled off a 50-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole followed with two tough pars at the end to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a spot in next month’s Masters.
In the final moments, four players were in neck-to-neck clash for the lead with Leishman sealing the win with a pitch-and-run from 45 yards away on the closing hole at Bay Hill that came close to 3 feet. He with ease made the par putt for a 3-under 69 and a one-shot victory over Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.
Sadly, this was the first time ‘the King’ Arnold Palmer was not there to do the honors. The American professional golfer Palmer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history died in September 2016.
Remembering Palmer, Leishman said that you see guys win and he’s (Palmer) waiting there on the back of the green. And to not have that is obviously very sad, but to win here is just a dream come true.
Leishman entered the week outside the world’s top 50 but now holds a ticket into the year’s first major at Augusta National thanks to his first US PGA Tour title since 2012. In addition, he earned a cheque for $2 million and a three-year US PGA Tour exemption.
Leishman shared the fourth place when countryman Adam Scott won in 2013 before missing the cut a year later at Augusta National.