McIlroy eyes history at Palmer PGA event

Ruben Hill
Марта 11, 2019

"I can think of a few occasions he could have been three or four shots better, in my opinion".

"To be at Arnie's place - it's a tournament that I used to watch on TV when I was back home in Italy and it's just a magical place - and to [play] a round like this here it's even more special".

"It's great", the 24-year-old said of the prospect of playing in the final group with McIlroy on Sunday.

No one was dialed in quite like McIlroy, the event's defending champion.

McIlroy was the clubhouse leader after carding a Saturday-low of six-under 66.

"I was just trying to hit good shots, give myself chances", Molinari said. From five back the holder of the Claret Jug delivered an outstanding 64 to take the Arnold Palmer Invitational by two shots, at 12 under par, from Matt Fitzpatrick.

A win this week would be McIlroy's 15th in his PGA Tour career, which would make him only the third golfer along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods with 15 wins and four major championships before the age of 30.

"THE PLAYERS next week is one of those weeks that you circle in the calendar at the beginning of the year", Molinari said. "It's just letting that golf come out when it matters most".

Another writer tried to rephrase the question, this time more delicately: "So the frustration of not being able to get it done, is that unfair in some ways because you keep giving yourself that chance?"

Fitzpatrick's play and game plan have been sound all week.

Rory McIlroy seems to have everything going his way at Bay Hill except for recent history.

Sixteen players are within four shots of the lead on a diverse leaderboard representing seven different countries.

"There's water around here, the greens are firm, the rough's thick", Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick wasn't aware that Keegan Bradley and Tommy Fleetwood, the co-leaders after 36 holes, had quickly gone in reverse.

"That was brutal", Bradley said. "Today someone was saying it's a bit like a U.S. Open, which I could totally see". McIlroy's downfall was the par 5s - for his second shots, he had 5-iron, 3-iron, 4-iron and wedge into the green.

For McIlroy, it marked the seventh time in the last 12 months that he played in the final group on the last day without a victory to show for it. He climbed a whopping 29 spots to enter the final round in contention.

Asked about another so-so Sunday, he responded: "Look, it doesn't matter whether it's Thursday or Friday or Saturday or Sunday". A miss from five feet at the next hole rather set the tone for what was to come.

Back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th holes enabled the Englishman to overtake McIlroy and saved pars at his final two holes for a five-under-par 67 to head into Sunday's final round at nine-under 207.

"Tough day", he said afterward, and then he tried to spin his tie for sixth as positively as he could.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is held at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida. "There's still a long way to go but it's going in the right direction". "It's high up there with the best wins I've ever had". "Hopefully I can continue and bring that into tomorrow as well".

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