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DeChambeau, inspired by Tiger, edges Westwood to win Bay Hill

·4-min read
Reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida

Reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, bolstered by messages from Tiger Woods, outdueled Britain's Lee Westwood in a dramatic back-nine battle on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 27-year-old American captured his eighth career US PGA title, his first title since his major triumph last September at Winged Foot, firing a one-under par 71 to finish 72 holes at windy Bay Hill in Orlando on 11-under 277 with Westwood on 278.

"It has been a battle this whole time," DeChambeau said. "It means the world to me.

"To win Mr. Palmer's event, it's nothing short of incredibly special."

DeChambeau said he received a message of support from 15-time major winner Woods, who is recovering from severe leg injuries suffered in a car wreck last month.

"He helped me quite a bit today, this morning, talking to him through texts. He's obviously struggling a little bit," DeChambeau said.

"For him to even think of me with all he's going through is amazing.

"He has inspired me. He really inspired me to keep pushing through... This one's for Tiger."

DeChambeau said the message from Woods was similar to the one he gave the injured legend about perseverance.

"It's not how many times you get knocked down it's how many times you get picked up and keep going and that's what I did out there today," Dechambeau said.

DeChambeau matched the low round of the day and was one of only three players to crack par Sunday.

Westwood settled for second after a closing 73 with Canada's Corey Conners third on 280 and Americans Jordan Spieth, Andrew Putnam and Richy Werenski sharing fourth on 282.

World number 11 DeChambeau opened with a bogey, then birdied the par-5 fourth and sixth and parred his way to the clubhouse for the victory.

DeChambeau was born in 1993, the same year Westwood turned professional. The 47-year-old Englishman said he was impressed with the American's iron shots as well as his distance.

"He has worked hard in the gym and worked on his technique to hit it a long way," Westwood said. "He can overpower a golf course. He's fun to watch."

Westwood, ranked 39th, won last year at Abu Dhabi but missed out on his first US PGA victory since the 2010 St. Jude Classic.

At the par-4 11th, DeChambeau blasted out of a buried lie in a greenside bunker to 50 feet from the cup and curled in a dramatic left-to-right breaking putt to rescue par, lifting his arms skyward with delight.

Westwood rolled in a 28-foot birdie putt at the par-5 12th to grab a share of the lead on 11-under.

But on the par-3 14th, Westwood left a 46-foot birdie attempt almost nine feet short and missed the putt, leaving DeChambeau ahead by one.

Westwood hit a 19-foot par putt into the right side of the cup at 15 to stay one back but missed a costly six-foot birdie putt at 16 while DeChambeau saved par after being forced to pitch out from a bunker.

Both added tense par putts from just under four feet to build the drama to 18, where Westwood's tee shot landed in a divot.

Westwood made a six-foot par putt but DeChambeau, after a second read, made his tension-packed par putt from just over five feet for the triumph.

- Bryson big again at six -

Westwood began the day one stroke ahead of DeChambeau, who bogeyed to open after failing to find the fairway.

But Westwood sent his tee shot way right at the par-4 third and made bogey.

DeChambeau grabbed a share of the lead with a 37-foot birdie putt at the par-5 fourth.

DeChambeau blasted his tee shot 377 yards over a lake at the 555-yard sixth for the second straight day, landing in a greenside bunker to cheers from about 5,000 spectators allowed under a 25% capacity limit from Florida Covid-19 safety rules.

Westwood made a 13-foot putt and DeChambeau dropped in one from just inside four feet to share the lead on 11-under.

But Westwood found a bunker at the par-3 seventh and missed a 15-foot par putt to fall one behind DeChambeau.

Norway's Kristoffer Ventura aced the par-3 14th from 201 yards with a 6-iron, the week's third hole-in-one.

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