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AP photo by John Raoux / Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after sinking a putt to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday at Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla. The 2020 U.S. Open champion closed with a 71 for a one-shot win over Lee Westwood.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Bryson DeChambeau received a text message Sunday morning from Tiger Woods to keep fighting, good advice for a final round that turned out to be the toughest at Bay Hill Club in 41 years.

Inspiration from Arnold Palmer is everywhere, and DeChambeau was particularly drawn to the King's motto to play boldly.

DeChambeau needed every bit of that Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, playing the final 17 holes without a bogey, entertaining thousands with another monstrous drive over the water and delivering one last par with a five-foot putt on the final hole for a one-shot victory over Lee Westwood.

He looked dapper in his tam o'shanter cap and red cardigan sweater that goes to the winner.

"I think this red cardigan is not only for Mr. Palmer, but I would say it's a little bit for Tiger as well, knowing what place he's in right now," DeChambeau said.

Woods, recovering from serious leg injuries from his single-car crash in Los Angeles two weeks ago, would have witnessed quite a show in blustery conditions, fast fairways and greens to quick they looked almost white.

DeChambeau closed with a 1-under-par 71, matching the low score of the final round in which no one broke 70 on Sunday at Bay Hill for the first time since 1980. Westwood, the Englishman who turns 48 next month but is still a leading player on the European Tour, was up to the task.

Never mind that DeChambeau's rocket over the water on the 565-yard sixth hole was 168 yards beyond Westwood. Their second shots were only six feet apart, and both made birdie.

Westwood fought to the end. He fell out of a share of the lead with a three-putt bogey from 40 feet on the 14th. Just as critical was Westwood's failing to make birdie on the par-5 16th with a wedge for his second shot from the fairway, and the big-hitting 27-year-old American having to scramble for par.

"You can't want for more than that. I thought we had a really good battle," Westwood said. "It was never really more than one (shot) all day, and there were tough conditions out there. It was a day for playing sensible and hanging on."

They were never separated by more than one shot over the final 15 holes. DeChambeau finished at 11-under 277 for his eighth PGA Tour win and first since the U.S. Open last September, when he conquered Winged Foot in a six-stroke victory.

The long ball came in handy for DeChambeau, as much with the putter as the driver. He holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole to regain a share of the lead. More critical was the 50-foot par putt he made on No. 11 to stay one ahead.

"Knowing what I know now, it's obviously the shot of the day for me," he said.

Westwood — denied what would have been his third PGA Tour win and first since 2010 — closed with a 73, not a bad score considering the average of 75.49 was the highest for a final round since 1980.

Canada's Corey Conners stayed in the mix until the very end. He holed a 15-foot eagle putt on the 16th to get within one shot, only to find a bunker on the par-3 17th and miss a six-foot par putt. He closed with a bogey for a 74 and finished alone in third.

Jordan Spieth was part of a four-man race on the front nine and briefly tied for the lead on the par-5 sixth with what turned out to be his last birdie of the day. He made bogey on three of his last four holes for a 75, dropping him into a three-way tie for fourth with Andrew Putnam (71) and Ricky Werenski (73). It was Spieth's third top-five finish in his past four events.

Harris English (74) finished at par to tie for 26th, the best result among the three Baylor School graduates in the tournament. Keith Mitchell (78) shared 43rd at 3 over, with Luke List (76) three strokes further back and tied for 63rd.

 

Big name withdraws from The Players Championship

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from The Players Championship, which starts Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, with what his manager described as a strained right knee.

Koepka won the Phoenix Open last month and was a runner-up in the Workday Championship last week. He has been saddled the past few years with injuries to his left knee, including a partially torn patella. His manager at Hambric Sports, Blake Smith, said Koepka would meet with doctors this week for a better evaluation but gave no further details.

In the past two weeks, Koepka has talked about soreness in his neck that at times makes it difficult for him to turn his head. He was planning to play the Honda Classic the week after The Players Championship, and he had the Dell Match Play after that as the Masters, set to start April 8, gets closer.

 

Americans rolling on LPGA Tour

OCALA, Fla. — Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championship for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala.

Tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day, Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the wire-to-wire victory at 15-under 273. Kupcho, coming off a closing eagle Saturday, had a double bogey and three bogeys in a 74.

Following sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda in the first two events of the year, Ernst gave the United States three straight victories to open an LPGA Tour season for the first time since 2007. The 29-year-old former LSU star from South Carolina who won the 2011 NCAA title — she showed her school spirit Sunday with a purple shirt — also won the 2014 Portland Classic and the 2020 NW Arkansas Championship.

Jenny Coleman made it a 1-2-3 finish for Americans, closing with a 71 to get to 8 under.

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