Marc Leishman Wins 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Marc Leishman
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, March 19, 2017
Sunny with a high of 78. Wind NNW 12-18 mph with gusts of 25 mph.
Final-Round Leaderboard
Marc Leishman              71-66-71-69—277 (-11)
Kevin Kisner                  70-67-68-73—278 (-10)
Charley Hoffman           68-66-71-73—278 (-10)
Rory McIlroy                 74-71-65-69—279 (-9)
Tyrrell Hatton                72-69-67-71—279 (-9)
Marc Leishman
Starting the day three shots off the lead, Marc Leishman made a 51’5” putt for eagle on Arnold Palmer’s favorite hole, the par-5 No. 16, to take a one-shot lead heading to 17. With pars on his last two holes, he finished at 11-under 277 for the clubhouse lead. When Kevin Kisner was unable to birdie the 18th hole, Leishman was declared champion of the 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational and received the tournament’s red alpaca cardigan in honor of Palmer.
Leishman earns his second victory on the PGA TOUR at the age of 33 years, 4 months, 23 days in his 207th PGA TOUR start. His maiden PGA TOUR title came at the 2012 Travelers Championship, 111 starts ago.
Both of Leishman’s PGA TOUR victories have been in come-from-behind fashion. Leishman erased a six-shot deficit to win the 2012 Travelers Championship, while he started today’s final round three shots behind co-leaders Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman.
Leishman earns 500 FedExCup points and moves to No. 11 in the standings. Leishman has only advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs Finale, the TOUR Championship, once, and it was his first year on TOUR in 2009.
Leishman is projected to move as high as No. 29 in the Official World Golf Ranking. His career-high is No. 25 (last year).
Leishman receives a three-year exemption, instead of the two-year exemption awarded at other Tour events.
Not already qualified for this year’s Masters, Leishman earned his spot in the 2017 field. It will mark his fifth start since 2010. He has missed the cut three times, but finished T4 in 2013.
Leishman earns his second top-10 in eight starts at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Leishman has competed at Bay Hill for the last eight consecutive seasons, where he finished T3 in 2011, two shots behind winner Martin Laird.
Leishman has finished inside the top 25 in six of his eight starts this season. His victory joins a fifth-place showing at the CIMB Classic as his only top-10s.
Leishman’s 51’5” eagle putt on 16 was his longest of the season by more than 20 feet.
Leishman becomes just the sixth international player to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and third Australian, joining Rod Pampling (2006) and Jason Day (2016). Other international winners include South African Ernie Els (1998 and 2010), Vijay Singh of Fiji (2007) and Scotland’s Martin Laird (2011).
At the age of 33 years, 4 months, 23 days, Leishman becomes the third player in his 30s to win on TOUR this season joining Brendan Steele and two-time winner Dustin Johnson.
Leishman owns five international victories on three different Tours, including three in his native Australia, one in Korea (2006 Jisan Resort Open) and one on the European Tour (2015 Nedbank Golf Challenge).
Leishman has represented the International Team twice at The Presidents Cup and owns a 3-4-1 overall record. In his most recent appearance in 2015 in Korea, Leishman posted a 1-up win over Jordan Spieth in the final-day singles matches. In 2013, he defeated Matt Kuchar 1-up in singles. He currently sits No. 15 in the International Team points standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup to be held at Liberty National in New Jersey later this year, but is expected to move inside the top 10 when rankings are updated Monday.
In April 2015, Leishman’s wife Audrey almost died of toxic shock syndrome. Now, Audrey is healthy and expecting the couple’s third child, a girl.
Leishman’s statistics by round:
R1: 10/14 fairways, 12/18 greens, 4/5 sand saves, 29 putts
R2: 12/14 fairways, 15/18 greens, 1/2 sand saves, 28 putts
R3: 11/14 fairways, 15/18 greens, 33 putts
R4: 8/14 fairways, 11/18 greens, 3/4 sand saves, 26 putts.
FULL NAME: Marc Leishman
BIRTHDATE: October 24, 1983
BIRTHPLACE: Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
RESIDENCE: Virginia Beach, Virginia
FAMILY: Wife, Audrey; Harvey Andrew (1/10/12), Oliver Ray (8/18/13)
TURNED PROFESSIONAL: 2005 Tour Graduate (2008)
Kevin Kisner
In search of his second PGA TOUR title, Kevin Kisner posted his only over-par round of the week, a 1-over 73 to finish T2 with his 54-hole co-leader Charley Hoffman.
Kisner is now one for three when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead. En route to his six-shot victory at the 2015 RSM Classic, he held the solo 54-hole lead. Kisner held a share of the 54-hole lead at the 2015 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and went on to finish second, two strokes behind Russell Knox.
Kisner will compete in next week’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Kisner’s runner-up came in his third start at Bay Hill. In his two previous starts, he finished T49 in 2015 and missed the cut in 2016.
This marks Kisner’s third top-10 in nine starts on TOUR this season (T4/Sony Open in Hawaii, T10/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, T2/Arnold Palmer Invitational). His lone missed cut occurred at The RSM Classic while attempting to defend the title he won the previous year.
Kisner’s statistics by round:
R1: 9/14 fairways, 10/18 greens, 3/3 sand saves, 27 putts
R2: 9/14 fairways, 12/18 greens, 2/3 sand saves, 24 putts
R3: 13/14 fairways, 11/18 greens, 26 putts
R4: 10/14 fairways, 8/18 greens, 2/2 sand saves, 25 putts
Charley Hoffman
Charley Hoffman, who held the solo 36-hole lead and shared the 54-hole lead with Kevin Kisner, posted a 1-over 73 to finish T2. The four-time PGA TOUR winner has never converted any of his leads (after any round) on the PGA TOUR. This marked his third 54-hole lead/co-lead he was unable to convert to victory.
This marks Hoffman’s best finish in 11 starts this season. Hoffman, who failed to make a cut in his three starts in the fall, missed his fifth cut of the season at last week’s Valspar Championship. His missed cut at the Valspar Championship is sandwiched between a T4 at the Genesis Open and a T2 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his only top-10s this season.
Hoffman was making his fifth start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and first since 2013. His previous starts included three missed cuts and a T59 in 2012.
At the age of 40, Hoffman was looking to become the third player in his 40s to win this season (Rod Pampling, Pat Perez).
Hoffman posted 21 birdies, tied with Rory McIlroy for most in the field this week.
Hoffman’s statistics by round:
R1: 9/14 fairways, 12/18 greens, 1/2 sand saves, 26 putts
R2: 12/14 fairways, 13/18 greens, 1/1 sand saves, 25 putts
R3: 7/14 fairways, 11/18 greens, 0/1 sand saves, 29 putts
R4: 9/14 fairways, 10/18 greens, 2/3 sand saves, 27 putts
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy began the final round five strokes off the lead. With seven birdies, McIlroy made a charge, at one point tying the lead. A bogey at the 18th, a product of his first 3-putt of the week, led to a 3-under 69 for a T4 finish. The largest comeback in tournament history is six shots (Tom Kite/1982 and Gary Koch/1984). Tiger Woods won in 2009 after a five-stroke deficit.
Six of McIlroy’s 13 PGA TOUR victories were in come-from-behind fashion. McIlroy has come back from four shots or more twice: 2010 Wells Fargo Championship (four shots) and 2016 Dell Technologies Championship (six shots).
McIlroy is projected to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, while Jason Day is projected to move to third.
McIlroy was making his third start in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His T4 marks his best showing, replacing a T11 effort in his tournament debut in 2015. McIlroy closed last year’s final round with a 7-under 65 to finish T27.
Limited to just two previous starts this season due to injury, McIlroy has now finished inside the top 10 in all three appearances on the PGA TOUR this season: WGC-HSBC Champions (T4), WGC-Mexico Championship (T7) and Arnold Palmer Invitational (T4). The No. 3 player in the world, McIlroy will compete in next week’s WGC, the Dell Technologies Match Play, a tournament he won in 2015.
There have been seven drives of 362 yards or more this week at Bay Hill. Four of them belong to McIlroy, all recorded in the final round.
Longest drives at Bay Hill this week:
Rank    Player              Distance
1          Rory McIlroy     383
2          Brandon Hagy   372
T3         Rory McIlroy     371
T3         Bubba Watson  371
Additional Player Notes
After opening with a 6-over 78 in the first round, England’s Tommy Fleetwood (T10) posted rounds of 66-70-68. In need of just four non-member FedExCup points to qualify for Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR, Fleetwood went from 315 to 388 points, and is now eligible for Special Temporary Membership.
Likewise, Tyrrell Hatton (T4) went from 217 to 340 non-member FedExCup points and is also eligible for Special Temporary Membership.
Defending champion Jason Day posted rounds of 70-71-75-70 to finish at 2-under 286 (T23). This marks the second consecutive tournament Day has failed to post a round in the 60s (Genesis Open: 70-70-75-71). In 18 rounds this season, Day has only posted four sub-70 scores.
Past Arnold Palmer Invitational champions in the field: Jason Day/2016 (T23), Matt Every/2014, 2015 (T62), Tim Herron/1999 (T62), Martin Laird/2011 (T49), Robert Gamez/1990 (MC), Ernie Els/1998, 2010 (MC), Chad Campbell/2004 (MC), Rod Pampling/2006 (MC), Vijay Singh/2007 (MC).
A week removed from his maiden PGA TOUR victory at the Valspar Championship, Adam Hadwin posted rounds of 70-70-69-71 to finish alone in sixth. He was attempting to become the first player since Camilo Villegas (2008 BMW Championship/TOUR Championship) to win his first two tournaments in back-to-back weeks. This mark’s Hadwin’s fourth top-10 of the season, tying him for second-most this season. Justin Thomas leads the TOUR with five.
With weekend rounds of 69-68, Hudson Swafford finished T10, his first top-10 since his win in January at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Since his victory, Swafford missed three consecutive cuts and finished T38 at last week’s Valspar Championship.
Lucas Glover finished T7, his third top-10 of the season and first of the calendar year. He finished T5 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and third at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, both in the fall.
Miscellaneous Notes
Scoring Averages:
Front 9             Back 9             Total                Cumulative
R1        36.783              36.925              73.708              —
R2        36.644              35.924              72.568              73.138
R3        36.139              35.694              71.833              72.839
R4        37.292              35.819              73.111              72.890
The par-4 18th hole was the hardest in the final round with an average of 4.389. The easiest hole for the final round was the par-5 16th hole, which played to an average of 4.181.
Bogey-free rounds:
R1 – Matthew Fitzpatrick (67)
R2 – Tommy Fleetwood (66), Marc Leishman (66), Francesco Molinari (68)
R3 – Billy Horschel (67), Rory McIlroy (65), Hudson Swafford (69)
R4 – Emiliano Grillo (68), Danny Lee (67)