Laird wins Arnold Palmer Invitational

Filed under: Florida News,Golf,Leisure |

It was one of the more extraordinary days that Arnold Palmer has ever seen at his event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, as overnight two shot leader Martin Laird went from a shocking collapse to unlikely champion at Bay Hill this afternoon.

Three shots behind with just four holes to play, Laird managed to make birdies and two clutch pars to close with a 3-over 75 and become the first European winner in the 33-year history of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Laird’s final round 75 became the highest final round ever by a Bay Hill champion.  Laird still needed some help from Steve Marino, who lost the lead with a double bogey from a plugged lie in the bunker on the par-3 17th and although Marino made birdie on the 18th for a 72, Laird sealed the victory when he two-putted for par from 90 feet.

It was an unlikely victory for Laird as after 11 holes he was 5 shots over but he showed he was made of stern stuff as he impressively made back-to-back birdies to reclaim the lead, then sank a five-foot par putt at 17 and then nailed a four-foot par putt at 18 to finish 72 holes on eight-under par 280.

“I’ve had perserverance all week and it paid off,” Laird said.

Laird completed a stellar day for Scottish golfers after countryman Paul Lawrie, the 1999 British Open winner, won the European Tour’s Andalucian Open earlier in the day to end his nine-year victory drought. The day was made complete for Laird as he got to meet the “King of Golf”, Arnold Palmer at the presentation ceremony for the first time… that’s some way to arrange a first time meeting!

Laird is now $1.08 million richer and will now make his Masters debut at the year’s first major championship in two weeks time. Congrats!

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