Danny Lee claims 17th as Marc Leishman takes out Arnold Palmer Invitational

Danny Lee finished strong in Florida.

Danny Lee finished strong in Florida.

Kiwi golfer Danny Lee climbed 39 places in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Florida on Monday (NZ time) to finish in a six-way tie for 17th.

Lee shot a five-under-par 67 on the final day, a score eight shots better than that of his opening round.

The Kiwi finished three-under for the tournament, alongside Americans Luke List, Pat Perez, Michael Kim and Kyle Stanley, and Australian Greg Chalmers.

Australian golfer Marc Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Australian golfer Marc Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It was another Australian who claimed the title, with Marc Leishman booking an 11th-hour Masters berth with a one-shot victory.

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The 33-year-old claimed his second US PGA Tour victory - five years after winning the 2012 Travelers Championship - when he closed with a three-under-par 69 to win at 11-under-277 from third round leaders Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner, who tied for second after both scoring 73 in their final rounds.

Leishman set up his victory at the first Arnold Palmer Invitational since the legendary golfer's death in September when he grabbed the outright lead by holing a 51-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th before making par saves on the last two holes.

"You see guys win and he (Palmer) is waiting there on the back of the green and to not have that is obviously very sad, but to win here is just a dream come true," said Leishman.

The win carried a huge bonus for Leishman in the form of a start in the year's first major, the Masters at Augusta National starting on April 6.

Making Monday's victory even more special for Leishman, Audrey and their two sones aged five and three were there to celebrate with him.

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"Mr Palmer was an awesome guy who I was lucky enough to meet a few times. To honour him was huge. And it was the first time I won a tournament with my family here," he said.

"It's all come together."

World No 3 Rory McIlroy made a charge with a 69 and his nine-under total left the Northern Irishman in a share of fourth with England's Tyrrell Hatton (71).

Leishman is projected to rise to No 32 in the world rankings, while Jason Day is also set to drop one spot to world No 3 with McIlroy's Bay Hill finish.

Day finished his lacklustre tournament in style, closing with a 70 to finish at two-under in a share of 23rd.

 - AAP

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