Kurt Kitayama Wins the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Kurt Kitayama has emerged victorious as the winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the first time in his career. The 30-year-old California-born golfer showed immense resilience, bouncing back from a triple bogey at the 9th hole during his final round. Kitayama held off the challenge of Rory McIlroy to claim victory and a whopping $3.6m in prize money.
Kitayama shows immense resilience after triple bogey
Kitayama’s incredible resilience and determination was on show during his final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he had to bounce back from a triple bogey at the 9th hole. The Californian golfer never let the setback affect his concentration, ultimately sinking a magnificent 48ft putt on the final hole to claim his first PGA Tour victory. McIlroy tried to watch from the sidelines, but he knew that Kitayama’s birdie two at the final hole was the pivotal moment of a thrilling finish.
McIlroy’s spectacular play wasn’t enough
Although Rory McIlroy put on a brave face, hitting some exceptional shots and playing some spectacular golf, it ultimately wasn’t enough. McIlroy’s eight-under-par total was shared with Harris English and wasn’t enough to force a playoff. He attacked the par three 14th without knowing that his birdie on the previous hole had given him a one-stroke advantage. Although he bogeyed the first two holes, he found his footing and went three under for the day after the 13th hole. His attacking play brought him undone, bogeying the last two holes, but almost reaching nine under with a birdie attempt on the final hole.
Kitayama’s brilliant finish seals victory
Five golfers were tied for the lead, with minus eight or better on the scoreboard. But it was Kitayama’s superb composure that ultimately prevailed. Spieth’s struggles saw him finish minus seven, while Patrick Cantlay, Tyrrell Hatton, and Scottie Scheffler ended at the same score. Defending champion Scheffler bogeyed the last, but Kitayama’s strong finish eased the pain.
The Road Ahead for Kitayama
Kitayama’s win has earned him a spot in this year’s Open Championship in July at the Royal Liverpool Country Club, and he is looking to build on this fantastic performance. If he can stay focused and find his rhythm, the future looks bright for this immensely talented golfer.