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Golf: McIlroy storms to victory at Arnold Palmer Invitational; Woods ties for fifth

March 18. 2018 9:03PM
Rory Mcllroy holds the championship trophy after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament at Bay Hill Club & Lodge. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

Rory McIlroy staged a spectacular back nine charge to claim a three-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, collecting his first PGA Tour win since 2016.

Two shots back of overnight leader Henrik Stenson when the day began, McIlroy overhauled Stenson with a brilliant final round 8-under 64.

The Northern Irishman hit five birdies over his last six holes, including a nerve-wracking clutch 25-foot birdie at the 18th to clinch his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Tour championships.

“I kept saying the last few weeks, I wasn’t that far away and it just takes something to click into place,” said McIlroy in a greenside interview. “Something clicked into place with my game and obviously something clicked into place in my putting and this is the result.

“It’s so nice to see everything come together finally.”

McIlroy arrived in Orlando with plenty of concern after missing the cut in two of his four PGA Tour starts this year, including last week at the Valspar, with his best result a tie for 20th.

McIlroy strung together four subpar rounds for an 18-under 270 total and a three-shot victory over Bryson DeChambeau (68).

Justin Rose (67) finished alone in third while Stenson (71) faded to fourth.

Tiger Woods, an eight-time winner at Bay Hill, had a 69 to tie for fifth.

After a tense afternoon at Bay Hill Golf Club, McIlroy had looked poised for an uneventful finish when he stepped onto the 18th tee with a three-shot lead.

But before McIlroy could get to his second shot, DeChambeau turned up the pressure with an eagle at 16 to trim the advantage to one.

McIlroy, however, answered with his birdie, triggering a roar from the gallery and a fist pump from the player.


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