Adam Scott Version 2.0 entered the weekend at Bay Hill playing dominating golf. Scott held a seven-shot lead and was poised to take the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking away from Tiger Woods and stamp himself the favorite to defend his Masters title. Sadly, the old Adam Scott re-appeared over the weekend, as a balky putter led to a collapse and opened the door for Matt Every to earn his first PGA Tour win.
Scott's opening-round 62 had threatened to turn the Arnold Palmer Invitational into an old-school Arnie-style runaway, and the Aussie still held a four-shot lead entering the final round. But a sloppy 76 awakened old demons as Augusta approaches. "Sometimes you've got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don't," said a philosophical Scott. "And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I'm annoyed that I didn't do better today.
"Today was a bit shaky. It was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. And my short game just wasn't there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure. If nothing else, it's a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is. And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that's, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win."
Every seized his chance, making four birdies in a five-hole stretch to pass Scott and build enough of a cushion that two late bogeys didn't hurt him. "I can't believe I won,” said Every, who earns his first Masters appearance. “Being close to winning out here, I mean it can be kind of discouraging because if you don't win you just wonder if it's ever going to happen.
“I don't see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”
Some key numbers from the weekend:
63 Scott required 63 putts over his final two rounds, including 32 in his final-round 76. His frustration on the greens was summed up in a disappointing three-putt par on the easiest hole on the course, the par-5 16th.
5 Scott missed five putts inside 10 feet on Sunday.
93 Every earned his first win in his 93rd start as a professional. His best previous finish had been a pair of runner-ups in 2012.
80.56 Henrik Stenson led the field in greens in regulation, hitting 58 of 72 greens (80.56 percent). That's a good sign in what has been a disappointing season for the defending FedExCup champion. Stenson also tied for the lead in driving accuracy.
2006 Scott can take solace in the fact that no player since Phil Mickelson in 2006 has won The Masters after winning a tournament earlier in the year.
Here are the highlights of Every's day at Bay Hill.