Kurt Kitayama Takes Home the Win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Kurt Kitayama has achieved what he has been striving for over the past two years.[0] On Saturday, March 5, 2023, Kurt Kitayama became the winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando. After 54 holes, Kitayama held a three-shot lead over contenders Jordan Spieth and Tyrrell Hatton. On the ninth hole, he hit his tee shot to the left, however it ended up out of bounds by only six inches, resulting in a triple bogey.[1] Despite this setback, Kitayama never made another bogey and finished with a birdie at the 17th.[1] With a final score of 9-under, Kitayama was able to edge out Rory McIlroy, who held the lead after 13 holes and finished the week at 8-under with Harris English.

Spieth had a chance to win the tournament but ended his day with three bogeys in his last five holes to get to 7-under.[0] He was joined in a tie for fourth by Schauffele, Cantlay and Hatton.[0] Jon Rahm, who led after an opening round of 65, slumped to back-to-back rounds of 76 for an aggregate of one over.[2]

In 2019, Kitayama gradually made a name for himself in the golfing realm, claiming two victories on the DP World Tour.[3] In the last two years, he has come in second place three times on the PGA Tour, behind World Number One Jon Rahm at the Mexico Open, Schauffele, Number Six, at the Scottish Open, and Rory McIlroy, who was Number One at the CJ Cup.[1] This win marks the biggest moment of his career and is a result of his hard-fought efforts over the past two years.

0. “Arnold Palmer Invitational: Kurt Kitayama outlasts McIlroy, Scheffler to grab first career win” Yahoo Sports, 5 Mar. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/arnold-palmer-invitational-kurt-kitayama-outlasts-mcilroy-scheffler-to-grab-first-career-win-223812670.html

1. “A late break: Kurt Kitayama's clutch birdie at No. 17 wins at Bay Hill” The Florida Times-Union, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.jacksonville.com/story/sports/golf/pga-tour/2023/03/05/a-late-break-kurt-kitayamas-clutch-birdie-at-no-17-wins-at-bay-hill/69973658007

2. “McIlroy and Hatton among big guns poised for Arnold Palmer shootout” The Guardian, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2023/mar/04/mcilroy-and-hatton-among-big-guns-poised-for-arnold-palmer-shootout

3. “Kurt Kitayama claims 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational for first PGA Tour win” Golfweek, 5 Mar. 2023, https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2023/03/05/kurt-kitayama-pga-tour-2023-arnold-palmer-invitational/