Mar 25, 2014

    Golf gods smile on Webb, spit out Scott


    JUST when you are flying high, golf kicks you in the teeth. And sometimes, when it is done grinding you down, it gives you an unexpected lift.

    Its capricious nature was on display on Sunday when Australian Adam Scott fumbled a chance to all but ensure himself of becoming world No. 1, leaving American Matt Every to claim his first PGA title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    Elsewhere, his countryman Karrie Webb, who had blown the lead recently at the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore, surged from behind to win the LPGA Tour's Founders Cup at Phoenix.

    Reigning Masters champion Scott, who led by a record seven strokes through 36 holes and by three when the day began, struggled to a final-round four-over par 76 and settled for third. American Keegan Bradley came in second with a final round of 72.

    Scott would likely have dethroned Tiger Woods atop the rankings days before the Australian defended his first major crown next month at Augusta National.

    Instead, tearful Every secured his first berth at the Masters with an emotional comeback triumph by firing a final-round 70.

    "It's hard. It's tough," Every said as he wiped away tears. "You never know if it's going to happen. It's nice to get it done."

    Finding bunkers and missing putts all day, Scott, who did not put a foot wrong when he fired a course record of 62 on Thursday, revived questions about his so-called mental fragility.

    Meanwhile, Webb, who had stumbled earlier this month in losing the Singapore tournament to American Paula Creamer, was masterful. She rolled in a half dozen birdies on her final eight holes to close with a nine-under 63 and beat back the challenge of overnight leader Lydia Ko.

    "I had a really good start," Ko said. "Making four birdies on the first five holes was really good. I struggled in the holes after that, but, you know, I tried to get myself together. I made some bogeys at the wrong time, which wasn't ideal, but I tried my best until the last."

    Just 16 years old, the New Zealander is already learning how fickle the game can be.