Big Easy Wins Arnold Palmer Invitational by Two Shots on Monday
Proving that his win at Doral two weeks earlier was certainly no fluke, Callaway Staff Professional Ernie Els won his second consecutive start this week, capturing the Arnold Palmer Invitational by two shots on Monday. The Big Easy’s win at Bay Hill in Orlando was the 18th PGA title of his career and served notice that he will indeed be a man to contend with at the Masters in two weeks time.
Playing the final four holes on Monday due to inclement weather on Sunday, Els got up and down to finish the tournament at 11-under-par, two shots clear of the field. The smooth-swinging South African once again used the FT Tour Driver from Callaway and the Tour i(s) Golf Ball, which he fell in love with late last season. It was the fourth consecutive win on the PGA Tour for the FT Tour Driver and fifth PGA win for that driver this season overall. Callaway Tour i Series Golf Balls now have four wins on the PGA Tour in 2010.
Els put the driver in play two weeks earlier at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral and the results have been immediate. He has credited the Tour i(s) Golf Ball for his improved short-game in 2010. This season, Els is #1 in scoring average, at 68.88. In 2009, his scoring average was 70.21, 28th on Tour.
“You could see I made hard work of it, but that new Callaway Tour i(s) ball really helped me so much with my short game,” Els said. “I was able to get it up and down, and that was what won the tournament for me.”
In addition, Els used the Tour 15-degree X Fairway Wood, X 5-wood, X Prototype Irons, X-Forged Wedges and the new White Ice #5 Putter. With his new White Ice Putter from Odyssey, Els is averaging 28.38 putts per round in 2010, ranking him 21st (according to PGA Tour.com). In 2009, he averaged 29.30, which was 113th on Tour.
“It feels special. I think if you’re a betting man you would have got really good odds anywhere in the world that Ernie Els would win two tournaments in a row,” Els said following the victory. “I know a lot of guys basically have written me off, and a lot of guys probably said it was a fluke in Miami. It was hard work this week, but two wins is definitely special. I’ll just keep working hard. There are still a lot of flaws in my game that I’ve got to figure out and get right. I know I’m never going to play the game perfectly, but I can still improve.”
Fellow Callaway Staff Professional Derek Lamely, who won the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago with the FT Tour Driver and the Tour i(z) Golf Ball, continued his strong play. At Bay Hill, the Fort Myers, Florida, resident finished tied for 11th.
On the LPGA Tour, Callaway Staff Pro Morgan Pressel finished tied for sixth this week at the Kia Classic at La Costa Resort & Spa near San Diego. She finished the tournament at 4-under-par.
Also on the LPGA Tour, the second place finisher used bag of new Callaway equipment. She used the FT Tour Driver, the new Diablo Edge Tour Fairway Wood (18 degrees), a 21-degre FT Hybrid, and the new Diablo Forged Irons.
On the Nationwide Tour, Callaway Staff Pro Scott Gutschewski put an Odyssey Backstryke Putter in play this week and had his best result of the year, a tie for second place. Gutschewski used the Backstryke Marxman model. Kyle Reifers used the Odyssey White Ice 2-ball Blade for his best finish of the year, also finishing tied for 2nd.