Kurt Kitayama found himself chasing Sunday afternoon following a triple bogey at the par-4 ninth, and would need to finish strong if he planned to don the red blazer awarded to the champion at Bay Hill.
As bogeys far outnumbered birdies for most in contention, Kitayama stepped on the tee at the 217-yard par-3 17th tied for the lead. He proceeded to hit one of the best shots of his life, leaving himself just inside 14 feet for the go-ahead birdie.
After the birdie at 17, he only needed a par at the closing par 4 to become a winner on the PGA Tour for the first time in his 50th start.
His tee shot found deep rough up the left side of the famous closing hole. From 194 yards out, the 30-year-old gouged his approach shot out of the rough and onto the green, leaving himself 47 feet from the hole.
Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational
A two-putt at one of the most famous greens in golf was all that stood between Kitayama and glory, and he nearly did one better. His birdie putt stopped on the edge of the hole, setting up a $3.6 million tap-in for the Arnold Palmer Invitational champion.