PGA Tour Weekly Recap – The 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational

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Jason Day Goes Wire – To – Wire, Wins Arnold Palmer Invitational

Jason Day was the early leader at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge after the first day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and he never looked back.  His back-to-back 70’s on Saturday and Sunday clinched Day’s 8th PGA Tour Victory, finishing at 17-under par and one shot ahead of lone second place finisher, Kevin Chappell.  Day carded a final round 70 to secure the victory, but he held the lead from the first day of the contest.  Jason Day finished the first round of the tournament with a 66, good for a one shot lead over Swede Henrik Stenson, and once he had that lead, he couldn’t be stopped.  He followed up his stellar round on Thursday with a Friday round of a 7-under par 65, and increased his lead over Stenson to 2 strokes.  The weekend proved to yield higher scores, especially with the weather conditions on Saturday, but Day still didn’t falter.  Day was able to maintain his two stroke lead over Kevin Chappell, with a modest round of 70 on Saturday, followed by another 70 on Sunday to seal the win.

This season, however, didn’t get off to the greatest start for Day, finishing with only one Top-1o this year in four starts.  He felt that he needed a little extra help to get him over the edge, and jump start his season, so Day recently reached out to his childhood idol and now friend, Tiger Woods, seeking advice.  Day explained that his “killer instinct” hadn’t come to light yet this year, and he was looking to bring that back out of him like he did last year to finish the year with four victories in three months, including his PGA Championship win at Whistling Straits.  Day and Woods also discussed mental toughness, effort, and how to close out tournaments.  That advice appears to have paid dividends here on Sunday.

Day’s 2-under performance on Sunday gave him his 8th PGA Tour Victory of his career, but it didn’t come easy.  Day was one off the lead heading into 17, with leader Kevin Chappell teeing off on the 18th tee. Chappell, like quite a few players down the stretch, pushed his tee shot to the right and into the deep rough.  He was forced to layup into the fairway, then pitched his third shot to the center of the green.  Chappell left his par putt dreadfully short, and had to settle for a bogey, making him the leader in the clubhouse at 16-under par.  While Chappell was collapsing on 18, Day was making his move on the par-3 17th.  His tee shot left him a 12-foot uphill putt that he quickly buried for a birdie, resulting in a 2-shot swing and putting Day into the lead.  Like Chappell, Day pushed his tee shot even further to the right, but got lucky when his ball landed among the trampled rough in the gallery.  Day had a decent lie, but he flew his approach into the greenside bunker and was left with a long, very difficult 30 yard bunker shot that he needed to get up and down from to save par.  Day came through in the clutch, and after a spectacular bunker play, left himself a 4-foot tap in for his first victory of the year, but his 5th win in his last 12 starts.  Included among those five latest victories is Day’s first Major Championship, which came at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Kohler, Wisconsin. With this victory, Jason Day is expected to move up to number 2 in the World Golf Rankings.

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Jason Day’s Winning What’s In The Bag

  • Driver: Taylormade M1 460 – 10.5°, adjusted to 9.5° (Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage S TiNi 70X)
  • Fairway Wood: Taylormade Aeroburner TP HL – 16.5° head plays to 14.5° (Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage S TiNi 80X)
  • Irons: Taylormade RSI TP 3-PW (True Temper Dynamic Gold X7)
  • Wedges: Taylormade Tour Preferred EF – Satin Finish – 47°, 52°, 58° (True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue)
  • Putter: Taylormade Ghost Spider Itsy Bitsy Black Prototype
  • Ball: Taylormade Tour Preferred X

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A Look Ahead…

With the the month of March quickly coming to a close, and April rapidly approaching, that can only mean one thing: The Masters.  While we all can’t wait for the first major of the year, here is what we have to look forward to until April 7th.

March 23 – 27:  The World Golf Championship Dell Match Play -Austin Country Club in Austin, TX

Defending Champion: Rory McIlroy

Previously known as the Cadillac Match Play, the newly-named Dell Match Play Championship is also finding a new home this year in Austin, TX.  The Austin Country Club is a first-time home to this event, which includes a field of the top-64 golfers in the world from the Official World Golf Rankings (as of March  13th).  The match play format and 64-player bracket (March Madness anyone?), coupled with the top players in the world, should yield an exciting weekend of golf.

March 24 – 27: The Puerto Rico Open – Coco Beach Golf and Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Defending Champion: Alex Cejka

For the field outside of the Top-64, the PGA Tour will also be hosting the Puerto Rico Open starting on March 24th.  Reigning champion Alex Cejka won the event in a five-man playoff last year.

March 31 – April 3: The Shell Houston Open – Golf Club of Houston in Humble, TX

Defending Champion: JB Holmes

In the last event before The Masters, players will look to sharpen their game and fine-tune their swings in preparation for arguably the biggest tournament of the year, The Masters.  But that does not mean they are overlooking the Shell Houston Open.  The last event in March brings a $6 Million purse, with just over $1.2 Million up for grabs for the winner.  While the official field has not been released, previous years have brought the likes of Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, and more.  Look for an entertaining weekend of golf, but let’s be honest, we will all be counting down the days until The Masters at this point.

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Tommy O'Connell

Contributing Tour Editor
Tommy is California-born and currently lives and works in Chicago. When not traveling the United States and beyond for work, Tom can often be found spending too much time at the golf course or surfing the web to stay up to speed on everything golf, hockey, college basketball, and football.

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