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Late eagle carries Marc Leishman to victory at Bay Hill
March 19, 2017
Leishman followed that script Sunday to a one-shot victory at Bay Hill in Orlando. [...] even after his most disappointing shot down the stretch, a 9-iron on the par-5 16th hole that settled 50 feet away from the flag, the 33-year-old Australian knocked it in for an eagle that allowed him to jump past Rory McIlroy, Kevin Kisner and Charley Hoffman into the lead alone. Leishman’s final act was a 45-yard pitch from short of the 18th green that ran to 3 feet, a putt that looked a lot closer when he saw the replay on television. To honor Palmer, the PGA Tour now awards a three-year exemption and raised the purse to $8.7 million, meaning Leishman won $1,566,000 — just $295,857 less than what Palmer won in his PGA Tour career. McIlroy shot 69 to finish two shots back, with Tyrell Hatton. The 29-year-old Arizona State alum shot a 4-under 68 for a 25-under 263 to hold off fellow major champions Ariya Jutanugarn (68), Stacy Lewis (68) and In Gee Chun (656) by two strokes in record 96-degree heat at Desert Ridge. Tom Lehman took advantage of senior newcomer Steve Stricker’s late mistakes to win the Tucson Conquistadores Classic for his 10th PGA Tour Champions victory. Two strokes behind Stricker with three holes to play, Lehman closed with two birdies and a par for a 7-under 66 and a one-stroke victory over Stricker (70), his playing partner.