Arnold Palmer Invitational 2021: Lee Westwood Holds 1-Shot Lead Entering Sunday

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 7, 2021

Lee Westwood, of England, hits a shot from the 16th fairway during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Saturday, March 6, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Corey Conners' quest for a wire-to-wire victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came to an end Saturday thanks to a masterful round by PGA Tour veteran Lee Westwood (11 under), who shot a 65 and grabbed the solo lead heading into Sunday.

Conners (10 under) fell into a tie for second place alongside Bryson DeChambeau. The round of 71 Conners put together Saturday served as his highest score of the week but didn't do too much damage to his tournament chances.

The Canadian is looking for his first tour victory since claiming the Valero Texas Open in 2019. Westwood, who moved up 10 positions on the leaderboard, holds an even longer drought. A victory Sunday would be just his third on the tour and his first since the St. Jude Classic in 2010.

Here's how they stack up against the field ahead of Sunday's final round.

     

Arnold Palmer Invitational Saturday Leaderboard

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1. Lee Westwood (-11)

T2. Bryson DeChambeau (-10)

T2. Corey Conners (-10)

T4. Keegan Bradley (-9)

T4. Jordan Spieth (-9)

6. Tommy Fleetwood (-8)

T7. Doug Ghim (-7)

T7. Jazz Janewattananond (-7)

T7. Richy Werenski (-7)

T7. Rory McIlroy (-7)

Notables: T11. Tyrrell Hatton (-6), T11. Jason Day (-6), T18. Matthew Fitzpatrick (-5), T18. Paul Casey (-5), T29. Ian Poulter (-3), T35. Viktor Hovland (-2)

Full leaderboard available via PGA Tour

     

Recap

Moving Day was in full effect Saturday as some of the top players in the field posted their best scores of the week. Keegan Bradley posted the lowest round of the tournament with a 64—thanks to six birdies, an eagle and no bogeys—while Doug Ghim and Westwood shot a 65 and Tyrrell Hatton shot a 66.

But those epic rounds were overshadowed by the best shot of the day—a hole-in-one by Jordan Spieth on the par-three No. 2. Spieth's drive landed perfectly on the green and rolled straight into the cup as the Texan watched in awe.

Not to be outdone, Jazz Janewattananond sank an ace of his own on the par-three No. 14 as he seeks his first victory on the PGA Tour.

And while it didn't go in the hole off the tee, DeChambeau launched the longest drive hole No. 6 has seen since 2003, cutting 370 yards all the way across the lake and into the rough just 70 yards from the cup.

DeChambeau would pick up a birdie on the par-five, but this one was more about the journey than the finish as he continues to try to break the sport with herculean drives.

As the youngsters on tour kept one-upping each other, Westwood snuck up the leaderboard with eight birdies, three bogeys and one eagle—including four birdies in five holes on the front nine. Westwood hit 83.3 percent of his greens in regulation and was spotted on the driving range after finishing his round as he fine-tunes his game ahead of Sunday.

Viktor Hovland could use some extra time out there, as well, following a dramatic collapse Saturday after he began the day in third place. Hovland shot a 77 with six bogeys, a double bogey and just three birdies. The Norwegian shot under 70 in his first two rounds before Saturday's meltdown.

It's the second time since December that Hovland has spoiled a strong start. He shot three straight rounds under 70 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January before a final round of 76 led him to finish 31st overall.

The Oklahoma State product could still turn his Arnold Palmer tournament around, but he has plenty of work ahead of him just to get back in contention for a top-10 finish.