Arnold Palmer InviteMarch 19, 2017

Leishman wins with late eagle, two clutch par saves

Sam Greenwood

Marc Leishman of Australia plays his shot from the 14th tee during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard at Bay Hill Club. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Australian Marc Leishman emerged from a foursome of contenders on the back nine on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando.

Leishman, 33, took the lead when he holed a 51-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th hole, then held on by saving par from a bunker at 17 and getting up and down for par from 45 feet on 18. He finished with closing three-under-par 69 to win by one. The victory was his second on the PGA Tour, the first coming nearly five years ago. It also secured him a spot in next month’s Masters.

“Around here things can change so quick, you don’t have to hit that bad a shot to make bogeys out there," he said. "I holed some good putts there on the last few holes. They all went in the middle of the holes, which was nice. I’ve been playing well all year. The putter’s been amazing this year.”

Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman, the co-54-hole leaders, tied for second. Kisner bogeyed the 12th and 14th holes and failed to make a birdie on the back nine, while Hoffman bogeyed the 17th to end his chances.

Rory McIlroy also was tied for the lead briefly, when he birdied the 16th hole. His bid ended when he three-putted the 18th hole for a bogey that dropped him into a tie for fourth.


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