Matthew Fitzpatrick played bogey-free golf as he eased past Rory McIlroy for a one-stroke lead after the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida on Saturday.
Back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th holes enabled Fitzpatrick to overtake McIlroy and the 24-year-old saved pars on his final two holes for a 5-under-par 67 to head into today’s final round at 9-under 207.
Defending champion McIlroy shot a 66 to surge up the leaderboard at Bay Hill.
The former world No. 1 was strong off the tee and birdied four of his first six holes and three of his final four as he continued his solid play for the season.
McIlroy’s round could have been even stronger had he not twice three-putted at par-five holes, including at the 12th, where his putting cost him a chance at an eagle.
Australian Aaron Baddeley (69), Englishman Matt Wallace (69) and American Kevin Kisner (70) shared third at 7-under.
Third round co-leaders Tommy Fleetwood (76) and Keegan Bradley (75) stumbled out of contention after beginning the day with a four-stroke advantage.