Scheffler wins at Bay Hill; Ko takes her LPGA season debut
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler played the kind of golf that wins a traditional U.S. Open, and that’s what the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt like Sunday at Bay Hill.
In another final round that featured some of the toughest scoring conditions in four decades, Scheffler made key putts to save two unlikely pars, followed with a pair of lag putts and closed with an even-par 72 for a one-shot victory.
Scheffler now has two PGA Tour titles in the last month, having picked up his first victory at the Phoenix Open. That one was loud. This one was stressful for everyone with a chance.
The scoring average was 75.48, by a fraction lower than it was a year ago. Only 10 players finished the tournament under par.
Billy Horschel was the last player with a shot at catching Scheffler with a 30-foot birdie putt on the last hole that never really had a chance. Horschel shot 75 and tied for second along with Tyrrell Hatton (69) and Viktor Hovland (74).
Hovland was still tied for the lead until catching a plugged lie in the front bunker on the 17th and having to two-putt from 50 feet on the fringe for bogey. Needing a birdie on the last hole to catch Scheffler, with whom he was paired, the Norwegian missed from 18 feet.
SINGAPORE (AP) — Jin Young Ko lived up to her billing as the No. 1 player in women’s golf by starting her LPGA Tour season with a two-shot victory in the HSBC Women’s World Championship, her sixth win in her last 10 starts.
Ko birdied the final hole for a 6-under 66 to beat In Gee Chun (69) and Minjee Lee (63).
The South Korean star set an LPGA Tour record with her 15th consecutive round in the 60s and her 30th sub-par round.
Ko, who won the CME Group Tour Championship in November to close out last season, had been home for three months before intensive practice sessions in Palm Springs, California. She finished at 17-under 271 on the Tanjong course at Sentosa Golf Club.
Jeongeun Lee6 was tied with Ko until a double bogey on the final hole for a 69. She tied for fourth with Attaya Thitikul of Thailand, who had a 67.
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) — Needing to win or finish solo second to retain PGA Tour status, Ryan Brehm and ran away with the Puerto Rico Open for his first tour title.
With wife Chelsey at his side as his caddie, the 35-year-old Brehm birdied five of the first 11 holes at windy and rainy Grand Reserve and beat Max McGreevy by six strokes.
Three-strokes ahead entering the day, Brehm shot a 5-under 67 to finish at 20-under 268 in the make-or-break start on a minor medical extension. He got the one-tournament extension after he had to withdraw from the Zuruch Classic last year because of COVID-19.
With the event played opposite the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida, Brehm received a two-year exemption and a spot in the PGA Championship, but will not be exempt for the Masters. The 6-foot-4 former Michigan State player won in his 68th start on the tour. He’s ranked 773rd in the world.
Brehm started fast with a birdie on the par-4 first and added another on the par-5 fifth. He ran off three straight on the par-4 ninth and 10th and par-3 11th and parred the final seven.
The Brehms became the first husband-wife caddie team to win since Justine and Patrick Reed in the 2013 Wyndham Championship.
McGreevy closed with a 69.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Retief Goosen holed out for eagle from a greenside bunker on the short par-4 first hole, birdied the next two and cruised to an 8-under 63 and a four-stroke victory in the Hoag Classic.
A stroke behind fellow South African star Ernie Els entering the round, Goosen pulled away quickly at Newport Beach Country Club in breezy but calmer conditions than the players faced Saturday.
After hitting his opening drive into the left bunker, Goosen’s long blast hit the flagstick and dropped in the cup without touching the green.
Goosen finished at 15-under 198. Coming off offseason shoulder surgery, the two-time U.S. Open champion won for the second time on the 50-and-over tour. He also won the 2019 Senior Players.
Goosen followed the early 4-under burst with a birdie on the par-4 sixth. He birdied the par-3 10th, rebounded from a bogey on the par-4 11th with birdies on the par-4 12th and par-5 15h and finished with 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.
K.J. Choi was second after a 66.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ashun Wu of China closed with a 6-under 65 as he turned a four-shot deficit into a four-shot victory in the Magical Kenya Open on the European Tour.
Wu ended 66 events worldwide without winning since he captured the KLM Open in 2018. He won for the fourth time on the European Tour.
Ewen Ferguson of Scotland lost his 54-hole lead by closing with a 76. That created an opportunity for Wu, and he bolted ahead with a superb short game.
Wu birdied his last two holes to finish at 16-under 268.
Thriston Lawrence of South Africa was trying to stay close with a 31 on the front nine, but he didn’t make another birdie after the 10th hole. Lawrence closed with a 66 and shared second place with Hurly Long of Germany (66) and Aaron Cockerill of Canada (67).
Ferguson tied for eighth, seven shots behind.
Kum-Kang Park won the Epson Tour’s season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. The 20-year-old South Korean player closed with 2-under 70 to finish at 9-under 207 at the Country Club of Winter Haven. She also won the tour’s Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout last year. Alana Uriell (67) and Frida Kinhult (71) were two strokes back. .... Sihwan Kim closed with a 9-under 63 for a two-shot victory over Phachara Khongwatmai in the International Series-Thailand on the Asian Tour. It was the first professional win for the 33-year-old Kim. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2004 at Olympic Club and played four years at Stanford. ... Oliver Hundeboll of Denmark closed with a 6-under 66 for a two-shot victory in the Mangaung Open in South Africa for his first Challenge Tour title. Tristen Strydom of South Africa shot 68 to finish second in the event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour. ... Mao Saigo, seven times a runner-up last year on the Japan LPGA, captured her first title by closing with a 5-under 67 for a one-shot victory in the Daikin Orchid Ladies Golf Tournament, the first event of the season on the JLPGA.