2020
England’s Tyrrell Hatton donned the symbolic red cardigan sweater as champion, but the golf course and the weather seemed like the real winners. Hatton scrounged out a final-round 74 that...

England’s Tyrrell Hatton donned the symbolic red cardigan sweater as champion, but the golf course and the weather seemed like the real winners. Hatton scrounged out a final-round 74 that brought him a one-stroke victory, his first on the PGA Tour and the fifth in a row at Bay Hill by an international player. Dealing with strong winds, troublesome rough and, particularly on the week-end, cool temperatures and unyielding greens, only three other players besides the gutty Hatton finished under par and only Matthew Fitzpatrick, with 69, broke 70 in the final 36 holes. Hatton’s 284 was the highest winning total in tournament history, surpassing Mike Nicolette’s 283 in 1983. Only Martin Laird, with 75 in 2011, won with a higher final-round score.

Conditions weren’t overly demanding at the start. Matt Every, the back-to-back champion in 2014-15, edged Rory McIlroy by a stroke with his opening 65, only to exit the tournament with an astonishing 83 Friday. Hatton (69) and South Korea’s Sung Kang (68) posted 137s that day as the lead remained at seven under par. Things became more brutal Saturday, cold wind gusts blowing the scoring average almost to 76, the third highest ever for a single round. Only Max Homa (70) broke par as Hatton holed a 31-foot putt for one of only three birdies on the 18th hole for a one-over 73. His 210 total, six under par, gave him a two-stroke lead over McIlroy (73) and Marc Leishman, two recent champions at Bay Hill.

Hatton, a four-times winner on the European Tour who had recently returned to action following surgery on his right wrist which had been nagging him for several years, kept his volatile demeanor in check Sunday. The 28-year-old out-struggled the other contenders on the back nine after absorbing a blowup-threatening double-bogey at the 11th hole. He parred in, making testing ones at the 13th, 14th and 15th and a solid one from 25 feet at the rugged 17th. His two-putt par at the last hole gave him a one-shot win over Leishman, who closed with a 73—285. Sungjae Im (286) and Bryson DeChambeau (287) were the only other par-breakers over the distance.

You must play boldly to win. Arnold Palmer