Kurt Kitayama Claims His First PGA Tour Win at Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament

In the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Kurt Kitayama overcame a deficit to win for the first time on the PGA Tour. Rory McIlroy finished tied for second, one stroke down. The 30-year-old American finished nine under par after shooting an even-par final round of 72.

After making three birdies, he had completed the first nine holes in 37, but he faltered at the turn with a triple bogey at the ninth. Kitayama remained steady with seven consecutive pars to maintain him in the tight race. He was rewarded with a break when he birdied the 17th to tie McIlroy before finishing with a par-four on the 18th.

With the victory, Kitayama qualified for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool, joining Rory McIlroy, Harris English, and Davis Riley, the latter of who finished tied-eighth on six-under after shooting a final-round 66. In the 17th hole, Kitayama and McIlroy were leveled for the lead on eight under, but the American made a birdie to give him a stroke advantage going into the last round.

 The Northern Irishman fired a two-fewer than 70 for the final round but had to settle for equal second with English on eight-under after missing a 10-foot birdie putt to take at the top at the 18th.

“Disappointment,” McIlroy murmured. After making a birdie on hole 13, I thought I had a terrific opportunity, but playing the next five holes in one over par against such a crowded field isn’t cut. All day long, there was conflict. I handled the situation nicely.

I fell short by one in the end. But Kurt did well to hold on in that back nine, playing brilliantly. After shooting a round of 66 on Saturday, the 2020 event champion Tyrrell Hatton started the day two strokes behind Kitayama. He finally tied for fourth place after shooting a round of 72, which included three bogeys on his back nine.


After shooting a round of 73, in which he only managed four birdies before concluding with a bogey, defending champion Scottie Scheffler, who could have risen to the top of the world rankings with a victory, was tied for fourth with Hatton on seven-under.

A 72 that sparkled on an eagle-three at the fourth hole before generating four of five total bogeys on the day put Jon Rahm at the top of the world rankings before the week, one over and tied for 39th place. The Players Tournament, which starts on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is now the focus of attention.

The world’s top athletes will participate in the competition Rory McIlroy won in 2019 for the renowned title and the $15 million prize pool. Although McIlroy will try to halt his two-year winless streak and defend the championship he won two years ago, Kitayama will seek to establish his credentials and build on his maiden PGA Tour triumph.

Scheffler will be eager to retain his championship and establish his credentials, while Rahm seeks to regain his form and retake the top spot in the global rankings. With some of the top players competing worldwide, the tournament promises to be thrilling. It also promises to be a week to remember.

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