After a long journey through every major golf tour except the PGA, Kitayama finally broke through to claim his first PGA victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It may not be a major, but it’s the closest event the PGA holds to one.
The tournament boasts a field consisting of every top player on tour and a course designed by The King – Arnold Palmer.
“You must play boldly to win”
Kurt Kitayama lived up to Arnold’s quote showing extreme grit and mental toughness after he made a triple bogey on the 9th hole. In one hole he went from being two ahead of Jordan Spieth to trailing by one.
On the back nine, every player in the field was unable to make clutch putts when it mattered. Meanwhile… Kitayama just kept making par’s and keeping himself in the tournament.
“All of a sudden, I’m not leading any more. I just fought back hard, and I’m proud of myself for that.”
Then on the 17th hole he drained a 18 foot birdie to take a one shot lead. Needing just a par on 18 to seal the victory, Kurt hit his approach shot to 20 feet and then nearly sunk the birdie.
And when I say nearly, the putt was literally handing on the edge of the hole. Kitayama marked the ball and tapped it in a performance worthy of “playing boldly” in Arnold’s tournament.