Kurt Kitayama holds off McIlroy to win thrilling Arnold Palmer Invitational

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  • American earns maiden PGA Tour win in Florida
  • Spieth, Hatton and Scheffler also in mix on dramatic final day

Nobody can claim Kurt Kitayama earned his maiden PGA Tour win the easy way. The Californian recovered from a triple bogey at the 9th hole of his final round and held off the challenge of Rory McIlroy to prevail at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. For his efforts, $3.6m (£2.99m) and high praise from an otherwise rueful McIlroy. “It was a great back nine, it was great to be involved in,” said McIlroy. “I’m really happy for Kurt. He’s been playing well for a while now and I’m happy to see him get his first win.”

At the last, Kitayama, 30, rolled a glorious 48ft putt to within millimetres of the cup. McIlroy, watching on from the scoring area, knew his eight under par total – Harris English shared that aggregate – would be insufficient for a playoff. Kitayama’s birdie two at the penultimate hole proved the key moment of a gripping finale. At one stage, not long before close of play, five golfers shared the lead at minus eight. Kitayama’s fortitude prevailed.

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Written by Ewan Murray at Bay Hill
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/mar/05/kurt-kitayama-holds-off-mcilroy-to-win-thrilling-arnold-palmer-invitational-golf under the title “Kurt Kitayama holds off McIlroy to win thrilling Arnold Palmer Invitational”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.