Mar 8th, 2021
DeChambeau outmuscles Westwood at Bay Hill
American holds on as Englishman comes up just short
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
The US Open champion finished on eleven-under after shooting a one-under-par 71 in the final round. Westwood who led DeChambeau going into Sunday could only find a one-over-par 73 to miss out on the trophy.
Canadian Corey Conners finished alone in third, a further two shots behind Westwood and one clear of the American trio of Richy Werenski, Andrew Putnam and a resurgent Jordan Speith.
It was a tough day at Bay Hill with the greens firming up and the wind gusting, but DeChambeau mastered the conditions best. Drawing inspiration from a text from Tiger Woods, DeChambeau made full use of his of distance off the tee.
"I spoke to Tiger yesterday and we talked about just keep fighting no matter what happens and play boldly like Mr Palmer," DeChambeau said.
"It's beyond my wildest dreams [to win] Mr Palmer's event. I came here as an amateur, he gave me an invitation, and I loved this golf course the minute I arrived. I love the atmosphere and I love the fans."
"I loved what Mr Palmer did with this place and what he's done and his legacy he's left here. It's quite amazing."
Despite bogeying the first hole by the turn, DeChambeau took a slender lead over Westwood with Canadian Conners and Speith in close attendance.
The 6th hole summed up what Westwood was against as DeChambeau again took on the 300 yards carry off the tee. A vast 377-yard drive put DeChambeau in the fairway bunker some 90 yards short of the green, Westwood taking a more conventional route had a 260 yard second shot.
Both players missed the green in a similar position and both got up and down for their birdies but it demonstrated Westwood's disadvantage.
"Yeah, I mean, that's way left of my line on the tee. It is a huge advantage, being able to get that far down going into that flag especially," said Westwood afterwards.
"He couldn't have had much more than 80-90 yards, could he, and I'm going in from 261 with a four-iron!"
Despite the disadvantage off the tee, the 47-year-old from England still had his chances. In particular, Westwood will look back at the short putt he missed for birdie at the long 16th, which would have drawn him level with DeChambeau.
"I thought we had a really good battle, it was never really more than one in it all day and there were tough conditions out there," said Westwood.
"There were tough conditions out there. It was a day for playing sensible and hanging on and grinding out the pars."
Westwood's countrymen Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood finished tied in tenth place at three-under in a group that also included Rory McIlroy, whose run at the title somewhat dissolved over the weekend.
Brooks Koepka has announced his withdrawal from this week's Players Championship following his knee injury's recurrence.