Friday, September 30, 2022

PGA Tour: Rory McIlroy races into early three-shot lead in Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill

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Rory McIlroy, the 2018 champion at Bay Hill, carded a seven-under 65 to sit three ahead of Graeme McDowell, Adam Scott, Sungjae Im and Will Zalatoris; watch the Arnold Palmer Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 03/03/22 6:45pm

Rory McIlroy set the clubhouse target during the opening round at Bay Hill

Rory McIlroy maintained his impressive Bay Hill record to race into a three-shot lead during the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The former world No 1, who won the event in 2018 and has posted top-10 finishes in his last five appearances at Bay Hill, carded a stunning seven-under 65 to set a tough clubhouse target for the afternoon wave to chase.

McIlroy mixed an eagle and six bogeys with a lone bogey to finish three strokes ahead of the rest of the morning starters, with Graeme McDowell sat tied-second alongside Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris and Adam Scott.

McIlroy has posted top-20 finishes in his last eight worldwide starts

McIlroy has posted top-20 finishes in his last eight worldwide starts

Beginning on the back nine, McIlroy missed an eight-foot birdie opportunity at the 10th and failed to get up and down from off the green to save par at the next, before bouncing back by following a two-putt birdie at the par-five 12th by holing from the fringe at the 13th to pick up another shot.

The Northern Irishman drained a 40-foot eagle at the 16th and birdied the 18th to reach the turn in 32, with back-to-back birdies from the third then lifting him to six under and into the solo lead.

McIlroy made a two-putt gain at the par-five sixth and found himself three ahead when compatriot McDowell – who briefly held the solo lead – posted a closing bogey from the back of the ninth green.

The four-time major champion rolled in an eight-footer to save par at the eighth and splashed out of the sand to close range on his final hole, maintaining his blemish-free second nine and giving him a commanding advantage over the rest of the field.

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World No 1 Jon Rahm was among the later starters on the opening day, with Ryder Cup team-mates Viktor Hovland, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter also part of the afternoon wave.

More to follow…

Watch the Arnold Palmer Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf!





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