The final leaderboard for the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida is in. Jason Day made par on the 18th to win wire-to-wire by one stroke over runner-up Kevin Chappell; it’s Day’s 8th PGA Tour title and first since the BMW Championship last September. Below is the truncated top-10 leaderboard:
(1) Jason Day (-17)
(2) Kevin Chappell (-16)
(T3) Henrik Stenson (-14)
(T3) Troy Merritt (-14)
(5) Zach Johnson (-12)
(T6) Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-11)
(T6) Hideki Matsuyama (-11)
(T6) Jamie Lovemark (-11)
(T9) Paul Casey (-10)
(T9) Francesco Molinari (-10)
(T9) Justin Rose (-10)
Here are my thoughts and a few statistics on the champion and some notable golfers near the top of the leaderboard:
Winner: Jason Day (-17) – This is Day’s first Arnold Palmer win, 8th PGA Tour win and first Tour win since the 2015 BMW Championship. It’s also his fifth win in his last 12 Tour starts. In his last two starts at the WGC-Cadillac and Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he finished T23 and T11 respectively; before that, he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Previous finishes at the Arnold Palmer for Day include a T17 in 2015, T43 in 2013, T25 in 2010, W/D in 2009 and a missed cut in 2008 — not much evidence of any good course form (other than experience) that could have helped him this week. Last year his game was in the best shape it had ever been, and he’s clearly been able to carry it nicely into 2016 despite his rather limited schedule. I anticipate him certainly being a factor at Augusta next month and moving forward beyond that.
Today: 5 birdies and 3 bogeys for a 2-under 70. He won wire-to-wire, staying in the lead after every round. He made a key birdie on the par-3 17th from 12 feet to take a lead that he was able to maintain to claim the title. Scores in regulation: 66, 65, 70, 70 (271).
Kevin Chappell (-16) – This would have been Chappell’s first PGA Tour win (what a venue it would have been to do it at!). His past 4 finishes on Tour prior to this week, from present to past, were a T67 at the Valspar last week, a T26 at the Northern Trust, a missed cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and a missed cut at the Phoenix Open. He finished solo second at the RSM Classic last November. Previous finishes at Bay Hill for Chappell include a missed cut in 2015, T14 in 2014, missed cut in 2013 and T24 in 2012 — a history of poor performance at the Arnold Palmer, but that obviously didn’t hold him back this week. Overall, the 29-year-old seems to be a pretty spotty performer. Despite his numerous close calls over the years, he still doesn’t yet have a Tour win under his belt. He’s a great talent and I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets it.
Today: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys for a 3-under 69. He made a closing bogey on 18, laying up 105 yards out on the fairway and failing to get up and down for par — this of course prevented him from getting into a playoff with Day. Scores in regulation: 68, 68, 67, 69 (272).