Ernie Els wins Arnold Palmer Invitational

I managed to play hooky again today. After learning that a restart was scheduled for noon at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill I quickly finished a couple of jobs and got myself there just as the action was starting.

The winner turned out to be Ernie Els, who I met during the Pro-Am, and who had previously gone two years without a victory up until two weeks ago when he won the World Golf Championship at Doral. So now he’s won two in a row. Pretty neat eh?

Nigel Worrall & Ernie Els

Nigel Worrall & Ernie Els

This was Ernie’s second victory at Bay Hill, the other coming 11 years ago in a 36 hole Sunday because of rain and it was the rain that played a part in this victory as well.

At one point Els had a five shot lead on Sunday and looked to be cruising to victory when he took a double bogey on 13 and then a bogey on the next hole. Fortunately for Ernie, the siren to stop play came as thunderstorms approached and play was postponed as over two inches of rain drenched the Bay Hill course.

Restarting at noon today was no easy thing and Ernie was soon under pressure as he needed a 6 foot par putt on the 15th to keep his lead. Kevin Na then made a birdie on 16th to get to one shot and Els looked to be in big trouble as he faced a plugged lie in the face of the bunker on the 17th. On the verge of losing his lead, Els promptly blasted out to just over 6 feet and knocked in his par putt to keep the lead.

On 18th Na then drove into the rough and had to lay up. He then missed an 8 foot par putt and that effectively made life much easier for the following Els who made no mistakes in paring the 18th for a convincing and deserved win.

It was a great tournament to follow and this is what makes golf in Orlando so very special. Naturally there’s a lot of golf courses you can play but why not play at Bay Hill, where the pro’s play on your next trip?

Who knows, you may bump into “The King” Arnold Palmer yourself?

Here’s a short video of Ernie making the winning putt and the presentation ceremony”

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