MIAMI: An emotional Matt Every clinched his first PGA Tour victory in dramatic fashion when he surged past a faltering Adam Scott to win the $6.2 million Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke in Florida on Sunday. Australian Scott, the Masters champion, finished third. Every, who started the final round four strokes behind Scott, charged to the front with four birdies in a sizzling five-hole stretch around the turn. The 30-year-old built a three-shot lead, before bogeying the 16th and 18th holes, missing a five-footer at the last that opened the door for Bradley. Bradley, however, missed a 30-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff, while Scott finished two shots behind after a 76. Nobody in the top 25 shot a worse final round. Every grew-up in nearby Daytona Beach and Bay Hill was the first place he ever watched a PGA Tour event.
Suspended in 2010: The PGA Tour suspended him for three months during his rookie season in 2010 for conduct unbecoming a professional after he and two others were arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession in Iowa. The charges were later dropped but the PGA Tour suspension, which was announced by Every’s management company, remained. He also said he disagreed with how the PGA Tour handled his situation. The PGA Tour did not comment.
Every lost his PGA Tour card that season and was relegated to the secondary tour for a year before earning his way back to the big stage. Now he is off to the Masters, and $1.116 million richer after winning in his 93rd start on tour. But it might never have been if not for a piece of luck at the par-four ninth on Sunday, where his drive went dangerously left and nearly out-of-bounds.
Instead, the ball narrowly stayed in-bounds and to the right of the cart path, bouncing forward almost 100 yards, from where he punched his second shot to 15 feet and made birdie to close within one shot at the turn. Scott, meanwhile, was left to rue his inability to close the deal in his final start before defending his Masters title April 10-13. The world number two, who had a chance to take over as world number one from Tiger Woods, led by eight strokes after 35 holes, but played the final 37 holes in four over. His score got higher each day, as he shot 62 68 71 76. His putter deserved him on Sunday, no more conspicuously than at the par-five 16th, where he had a chance to make an eagle and tie Every, only to three-putt from 20 feet.
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