Tiger text propels DeChambeau to victory at Bay Hill

Bryson DeChambeau revealed he was inspired by a text message from Tiger Woods in capturing his first Arnold Palmer Invitational title and an eighth PGA Tour success.

DeChambeau, 27, holed a testing four-footer for par at the final hole in a round of 71 to win by a shot at 11-under par from England’s Lee Westwood.

The reigning European No. 1 ranked Westwood could stand enormously tall in handling everything DeChambeau threw at the 47-year old over the closing 18 holes.

Westwood had gone into the last day leading by one shot at 11-under par and produced a one-over par 73 in bright but cool and windy conditions at Bay Hill to fall one shot shy of forcing a play-off and attempting to win for only a third occasion on the PGA Tour.

There was the horror sight down the last when Westwood’s laser-like drive ended in a fairway divot, and one of the cruelest ‘penalties’ in golf, but Westwood didn’t bat an eyelid in finding the green from some 169-yards out.

He then calmly two-putted to put pressure on his 20-year younger opponent but DeChambeau was up for the challenge.

Bryson DeChambeau Bryson DeChambeau (Credit: PGA Tour)

And as he headed to the scorer’s hut, DeChambeau was stopped by the Golf Channel’s Steve Sands and became emotional in revealing Woods, who is recuperating from his horror car-crash late last month in LA, had sent him a good luck text message.

“I don’t know what to say to win at Mr. Palmer’s event and it’s going to make me cry,” said DeChambeau.

“It means the world to me to win here at Bay Hill.”

“I got a text from Tiger this morning and he has obviously done really well here, and was very instrumental in my life as Mr. Palmer was to Tiger. We just talked about keep fighting no matter what happens, and play boldly like Mr. Palmer said.”

“My heart has been heavy with what has been going on with Tiger, so I just kept telling myself that it’s not how many times you get kicked down. It’s how many times you get picked back up and keep on going.

Jordan Spieth was well in the mix again before a final round 3-over 75 saw him fall into a share of 4th place. The 27-year-old surely has to be close to getting over the line again.

“I put the ball exactly where I wanted to on just about every single shot and putt and it came out to 75 somehow. But that’s not going to happen every time, if I do, if I play the way I did today. It’s going to be really good going forward.”

Spieth wasn’t the only one to succumb to Bay Hill today with Rory McIlroy (76), Tommy Fleetwood (77) and defending champion, Tyrell Hatton (77) sliding down the leaderboard to finish equal 10th and 21st respectively.

Jason Day was the only Australian to make it through to the weekend with a final round 7-over 79 seeing him falling back twenty places into a share of 31st.

Matt Jones, Cameron Davis and Cameron Percy all fell two shots short of the cut mark with Marc Leishman another shot back at 5-over.

The Tour now heads for the $15 million Players Championship and the site of last year’s cancellation of the PGA Tour due to COVID-19.