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Jones third as Every wins on US PGA Tour

Australian Matt Jones produced a late birdie burst to claim third place as American Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for the second straight year.

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Every made an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole at Bay Hill to win by one stroke from Swedish star Henrik Stenson.

Last year Every rallied from a four-shot deficit for his first career victory.

This time he came from three shots behind on Sunday with a six-under 66 to win at 19-under 269, earning a return to the Masters next month.

Jones, who will defend his first US PGA title in two weeks at the Houston Open, made three straight birdies from the 15th hole as he fired a 68 to finish outright third, two strokes clear of fourth-placed American Morgan Hoffman.

World No.3 Stenson, on solid form after sharing fourth the past two weeks at Doral and Copperhead, was the US tour’s ninth 54-hole leader in a row to lose.

Stenson, who closed with a 70, held a one-shot lead until a three-putt bogey on the 15th hole and a three-putt par from the fringe on the par-5 16th. He missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have forced a playoff.

Every, 31, grew up nearby and attended the tournament as a youth.

Now he has matched 14-time major champion Tiger Woods and fellow American Loren Roberts as only the third player to win back-to-back Bay Hill titles, a feat Woods accomplished five times.

“I know how to win,” Every said.

“I was driving it really good this week and my irons were spot on.

“The accuracy was great. I kind of had a feeling. I was shaking over some of those putts late but that one at 18 was straight downhill.”

World number one Rory McIlroy, who can win his third major in a row and complete a career grand slam by winning next month’s Masters, had four birdies and two bogeys in firing a 70 to finish on 277 for a share of 11th.

“I got quite a lot out of this week,” McIlroy said. “It gave me what I needed going into the next couple of weeks before the Masters.

“I definitely feel like I’ve taken some strides in the right direction. There are still some things I need to tidy up and work on before the Masters. The things I was working on this week, I feel like I’ve made progress.”

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