Rory McIlroy is back. The former world number one birdied five of his last six holes to take the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, played on the Bay Hill course in Orlando, Florida last weekend.
His last round 64 gave him a tournament total of 270, 18 under, and left Bryson DeChambeau (273) and Justin Rose (274) in his wake. Henrik Stenson finished fourth on 275, and Tiger Woods tied for fifth on 278.
It was the 14th PGA tour victory for McIlroy, but his first since 2016. ‘It’s been a while’, he admitted after the win.
McIlroy made par on each of the first five holes of his final round. They were followed by what he thought a ‘flawless’ final 13 holes in which he knocked in a succession of six foot plus putts – including a 20 plus foot putt at the 14. He topped that by chipping in on the 15th hole and holing a 25 foot putt on the 18th.
‘What a day’, he said.
The win should put him back in the world top ten.
McIlroy’s last PGA win was on the day that Arnold Palmer died, so there was a poetic symmetry to this Bay Hill win.
‘For me to get my next win here means a lot’, he said. ‘I’ve had quite a connection with Arnold Palmer over the past few years and I’ve been very fortunate to spend some time with him here and he was always so nice to me. I’ve got so many letters from him from wins and all sorts of stuff’.
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