A Win for the King
Fans and players at the Arnold Palmer Invitational which is contested over the King’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge course, could revel in the many happy memories of the legend who was a man and most especially a man who touched the lives of millions. However, they also couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness when reminded of his death six months ago.
Just as Arnie would have wanted it, Bay Hill was in superb but challenging shape and winner Marc Leishman met the challenge. He had to come from behind with a “Palmeresque” final round charge to overtake third round leaders Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner. He crafted a 50-plus foot eagle on 16 followed by an up and down par from the sand on 17 capped by a 45-yard pitch to three feet to make par on 18.
Leishman is the both second Australian in a row to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational following Jason Day in 2016 and the second winner in two weeks for the Callaway Golf staff, the other being Adam Hadwin who won the Valspar last week. Both Leishman and Hadwin used the Great Big Bertha Epic driver and Chrome Soft X golf ball.
Leishman began using the Epic driver in January and says he is getting increased distance plus added confidence as he proved this week.
The Chrome Soft X golf ball is new for 2017 and companion to the Chrome Soft introduced in 2015. The original Chrome Soft, which was changed from a three layer construction to four layers last year, and the Chrome Soft X have a dual core. The inner core is softer, the outer core firmer and surrounded by a mantle with a urethane cover.
While the Chrome Soft is soft—75 compression—the Chrome Soft X is firmer but still only 90 compression and Tour players seem to opt for it rather than the low spinning Chrome Soft. The Chrome Soft X produces more spin off every club and has a lower trajectory than the standard Chrome Soft. The differences can be summarized as the Chrome Soft is a softer feel while the Chrome Soft X is more workable.
Leishman’s Winning Gear:
Driver: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic 9 degrees loft (Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution II X shaft)
Fairway woods: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic 15- and 21-degrees loft (Fujikura Motore Speeder VC Tour Spec 9.2 X shafts)
Irons: Callaway Apex Utility 3-iron and Apex Pro 16 4-iron through pitching wedge (Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130X shafts)
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged 54-degrees loft and Titleist Vokey Design SM6 Raw 58-degrees loft (Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120X shafts)
Putter: Odyssey Versa #1 Wide Black
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
The world saw Emiliano Grillo put two balls in the water on the 6th hole Friday ending up posting a nine. The second ball was followed quickly, in fact before it actually was in the water, by the offending club. For the record it was his Callaway Apex Muscleback 3-iron.
How tough is Bay Hill? The starting trio of holes are the most difficult opening holes on Tour averaging almost one-half stroke over par.
Titleist Prov1/Prov1x were used by 78 players in the 110-man field.
Leishman took home a winner’s check for $1,566,000 and rather than the traditional API-crested blue blazer he is the first to sport a red cardigan sweater, the style best remembered as a favorite of Arnold Palmer.
Leishman’s Odyssey Versa #1 Wide Black putter in is similar to the model Danny Willet used to win last year’ Masters except Willets’ was a white-black-white pattern and Leishman’s black-white-black.
Besides Leishman and last week’s winner Hadwin using the GBB Epic driver and Chrome Soft golf balls they also both carry the GBB Epic 3-wood.
Photo Credits: PGATour.comWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?