Even the great Arnold Palmer, a showman who inspired generations of future golfers, would have been impressed with this one.
Australia Marc Leishman drained a 51-foot eagle on the 16th hole at the first Arnold Palmer Invitational held since the legend’s death to take the lead. He held it for just three holes, but they were the last three holes of the tournament.
It looked like a playoff was imminent with some combination of Leishman, Americans Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman, and a hard-charging Rory McIlroy.
But Leishman’s eagle gave him the lead and McIlroy choked away a chance by three-putting the 18th hole. The only disappointment for Leishman was not having Palmer waiting to congratulate him at the end.
“You see guys win and he’s waiting there on the back of the green,” Leishman said. “And to not have that is obviously very sad, but to win here is just a dream come true.”
Kevin Kisner had the lead at the turn, but finished with a 73. Hoffman had to three-putt for a par on 16 and then couldn’t get out of the bunker on 17.