Not Every Man Can Win Back To Back


Can he do this Every year?

So, Quinn Palmer Every needs another brother or sister. Her dad, Matt Every, from Daytona Beach, Fla., just won the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard again.

With a 17-foot birdie putt on the iconic 18th hole of the Championship Course at Bay Hill Club & Lodge on a warm Sunday afternoon, Every capped a brilliant 6-under-par 66 to overtake world No. 3 Henrik Stenson and capture his second PGA TOUR title. Every completed 72 holes in 19-under 269, one stroke ahead of Stenson and two better than Australia's Matt Jones.

"It was cool to close out one like that," said Every, 31, who joins Tiger Woods and Loren Roberts as the only back-to-back winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard. Every also joins Roberts in the distinction of making his first two TOUR wins at Bay Hill.

The last player on the PGA TOUR to get his first two TOUR titles at the same event was Boo Weekley in 2007-08 at the RBC Heritage Classic.

"It's awesome. I do want to win more tournaments, though," Every said with a grin, undoubtedly looking ahead to his next start, which will be the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. "But it is neat to get them [two wins in a row] here."

"I did grow up coming to this tournament," added Every, whose daughter, Quinn, was born in November, and, of course, was given a middle name in honor of the tournament host, Arnold Palmer. "My father would take me over here with his buddies and kind of let me roam around."

Like last year when he rallied from four strokes down to beat Adam Scott, Every had to make up ground on Stenson, the 2013 FedExCup champion. A bogey at the first hole wasn't the way he wanted to start, but Every got in the mix thanks to birdies at Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7. When he birdied the 10th from 25 feet and added another at the 11th from four feet, he was in the lead again in the final round just as he had been a year ago.

Morgan Hoffmann, the first- and second-round leader, also stayed in the hunt with birdies on five of his first eight holes, but he would fade and end up fourth. And then there was Stenson, trying to end a streak of 54-hole leaders this year who failed to go on to win.

The tall and powerful Swede looked like he might halt the drought, having fallen behind until a 6-footer for birdie at 11 drew him even. He then moved in front when he chipped to within four feet of the hole after missing the green on his second at the par-5 12th.

But a pair of 3-putts at the 15th and 16th holes eventually gave Every just enough daylight that his putt on the final hole could decide it.

"It was a bit of everything. I didn't play good," said Stenson, who had not let a 54- hole lead go to waste until Sunday. "I played a lot of good golf, and Morgan got off to a great start.... I saw Matt was making a move and all credit to him. He played a solid golf round and shot [66] to win by one. All credit for a good score but I had it in my hand and didn't make it happen."

Every had arrived at Bay Hill having undergone swing changes under the tutelage of Orlando-based teacher Sean Foley. He hadn't played well for much of the season, and even wondered last fall where his game was headed.

Now he knows. The victory was worth $1.134 million and a three-year TOUR exemption, plus invitations to the Masters and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He also earned 500 FedExCup points. As an indication of how poorly he had been playing, he moved up 136 spots in the FedExCup standings to 22nd.

"The first one you don't know if it's going to happen because it never happened before, and after I won... I've been playing poorly," Every said. "I've played poorly right after [the win in 2014] for a while, and then I decided to make some changes to my body and my game and just dedicate myself.

"This is what's going to happen. I'm going to do it the right way. I knew when it comes it's going to be awesome. I just found a way today."

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy ended up T-11 after a closing 70 and 11-under 277 total.

Sam Saunders completed his sixth appearance at Bay Hill with a 1-over-par 73 that left him at 7-under 281, his best 72-hole aggregate total by seven strokes over his previous best. The grandson of Arnold Palmer, Saunders also recorded his best ordinal finish at T-29.

"I played well. Little disappointed today, the greens were a lot faster. I never adjusted. You know, it is what it is. Missed out on an opportunity," he said. "My goal ... I knew winning was kind of out of reach today, obviously, with the scores going like they are but my goal was to Top-10 so I could play in San Antonio next week because I'm not in. As it stands right now because we don't reshuffle, you know, missed out on that, but, hopefully, I can find a way to make it to San Antonio tonight so I can try to do a Monday qualifier. Not I'm not sure what I'm going to do."

Saunders just missed out on his third straight top-25 finish, but he still made a few dollars and a few FedExCup points, which is crucial, especially for a rookie.

"You know, at this point in my season and in my first full year out here, every dollar really does count so, you know, it's more FedExCup Points, more money and it's just ... it improves my position a little bit. Not as much as I would have liked but still a decent week, and anytime you're playing on the weekend and up near the top and have a chance, you got to just take that as a big positive."

--Dave Shedloski