Scottie Scheffler had to overcome not only a stacked field to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but also some brutal conditions that left many of the world’s top golfers reeling from a grueling weekend of action.
Scheffler’s gutsy win at Bay Hill was his second title in three starts after winning February’s Phoenix Open, victories that will push the 25-year-old American into the world’s top five for the first time.
Extra long rough and rapid greens were compounded by windy conditions over the weekend, but Scheffler recorded a bogey free back nine – including two impressive par saves on 15 and 16 – to take home the $2.16 million prize money.
“It feels great to be able to win here,” Scheffler told reporters after finishing on five-under par, one clear of Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel and Tyrrell Hatton.
“To be completely honest with you, right now I’m exhausted. This course is a total beatdown trying to play. I’m very pleased I didn’t have to play any extra holes today.”
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy hit eight-over par across the weekend to drop to one over for the tournament and a tie for 13th.
“I feel punch drunk, to be honest,” McIlroy, who at one point snapped a club in frustration, told reporters. “It’s like crazy golf. You just don’t get rewarded for good shots. It can knock your confidence whenever the conditions are like this.”
American Gary Woodland had a share of the lead going into the final two holes, but a costly double bogey on 17 meant he eventually dropped back to a tie for fifth on three-under.
“I’m glad I’m off that golf course, I’m glad I’m done,” Woodland said. “Frustrating. I played a lot better than the score showed. I can take a lot of positives, but it stings right now.”