PGA Tour March Recap

    WGC Cadillac Doral (Trump National Doral) March 3 – 6

    Adam Scott answered his critics with an emphatic win, and his second in as many starts, at one of the tour’s biggest tournaments. Scott took home a cool $1.62 million after getting up and down from the rough, and only a couple of feet from a water hazard, behind the 18th green. Scott toured the always tough Doral course in 12 under par after a final round 69 that put him one shot ahead of Bubba Watson and two clear of Danny Willett and Rory McIlroy, who shot 74 in the final round, losing a golden opportunity to notch his first win of the 2016 season. Phil Mickelson finished in 5th place.

    Valspar Championship (Innisbrook Resort) March 10 – 13

    2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel won $1,098,000 after capturing the Valspar Championship after defeating Bill Haas with a par on the first hole of sudden death. The South African closed with a 67 on Sunday, catching Haas who could only manage a 72 on Sunday. Schwartzel improved each day, firing rounds of 71 70, 69 and 67. It was Schwartzel’s first PGA Tour win since his triumph at Augusta, although he has won four times on the European Tour during the same time span. Ryan Moore finished in solo 3rd at five under par. Amateur Lee McCoy finished solo 4th at four under par, forgoing just shy of $300,000 in prize money. Charles Howell III and Graham DaLaet finished four shots back in a tie for 5th place. DaLaet stumbled home with a final round 75 in a tournament that was his for the taking.

    Arnold Palmer Invitational by MasterCard (Bay Hill Club & Lodge) February March 17 – 20

    Jason Day briefly held the #1 ranking in the world last year, before ceding it back to Jordan Spieth. While Spieth started the new season quickly, winning in January, Day struggled. Less than a couple of months later, Day put the people who doubted his breakout 2015 season in the rearview mirror by winning Arnold Palmer’s tournament at Bay Hill. His great short game was on display all week, including the tournament’s 72nd hole where Day hit a 35 yard bunker shot to within five feet and calmly stroked the ball into the center of the cup. Kevin Chappell had a great week finishing in solo 2nd at 16 under par. A bogey on 18 cost Chappell the opportunity to face Day in a playoff. Henrik Stenson and Troy Merritt tied for 3rd at 14 under. Zach Johnson finished solo 5th. The strangest week might have belonged to Rory McIlroy who did a Jekyll and Hyde impersonation with rounds of 75, 67, 75 and 65, good for 27th place. McIlroy has been fighting a bulky putter this season and has begun putting left-hand low.

    WGC Dell Matchplay (Austin Country Club) March 24-27

    Day made it two wins and two weekends in a row by defeating Rory McIlroy in the semi-finals and Louis Oosthuizen in the finals of the World Golf Championships Dell Matchplay. The tour’s annual matchplay tournament tried a new format this year, with round robin group play the first three days. The new format did produce a semi-final that matched two of the best players in the game. Day, who won the week earlier at Bay Hill, was nursing a bad back after straining it in his first match Wednesday afternoon. The injury seemed to strengthen his concentration and resolve as he continued to work his way through the field. Day defeated McIlroy one-up in the first semi-final as the Northern Irishman played well from tee to green but again struggled with his putter. After dropping the first hole of his match against Oosthuizen but then turned on the afterburners defeating the South African 5 and 4 in the 18 hole match. The win returned Jason Day to world number one ranking and makes him the favorite heading into the Masters, the year’s first major.