Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees the ninth hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament on Thursday March 4, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo / John Raoux)
Rory McIlroy combined a Tiger Woods-style control with a touch of anger to fire a six-under-66 and the early pace of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
The 2018 champion made birdie twos on the 14th and 17th, but after missing a few other opportunities, he wasn’t fired until he made a sloppy bogey on the 18th. </ p "I felt very in control for most of the day, but I was doing a silly bogey at 18 and that little anger may have made me do what I did on the back nine," said McIlroy, who was behind Poor Chip wiped one on the grass, then backhanded his ball into a lake after missing the par putt.
« It could have been the best round of golf I’ve played this year. I have opened in abu dhabi at 64 which was really good but i think with the wora n I’ve been working for the past few weeks, it felt a little more pleasant today, which was nice to see. «
Its lap changed when a 56-foot boat passing 10 feet clattered the flag at 221-yard second and fell for two more to start a run of five birdies in a row.
« That one on two was a bonus because that ball passed eight or ten feet, » McIlroy admitted. « It was nice to hit the pen and drop it. »
He played it second straight week with a blade putter and 149-foot putts, but his recent success at Bay Hill was due to Woods winning the event eight times.
« He played it very conservatively, he did himself taken care of the par-5 and that was usually good enough to get the job done, « he said. » So I’ll take a bit of a leaf out of his book. «
When he was aiming for his first win in 16 months , he headed a shot at the Bryson DeChambeau clubhouse who chose not to put the 550-yard sixth in a right-to-left wind, but the one made the last of his six birdies there in a five-under-67.
« I joked an iron off the tee, » said DeChambeau, who took a conservative line but still made a two-putt. Birdie did.
« If it had been one of my regular riders with 2,000 spins I could have made it fully today, but if it’s more upwind I can hopefully do it tomorrow or sometime over the weekend. «
On the LPGA Tour, Leona Maguire continued her quick start to the season as she screwed her last two holes to open a three-under-69 in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala, Florida. </ The Slieve Russell star, 26, was beaten after mixing bogeys on the third and eleventh with birdies on the fifth, seventh and eighth before her birdie-birdie finish.
She finished sixth, just two strokes behind the clubhouse leaders Nelly Korda, Jennifer Kupcho and Austin Ernst, the five under 67 sc cheered to take the lead with a shot by Chinese Jing Yan.
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