McIlroy eyes history at Palmer PGA event

McIlroy eyes history at Palmer PGA event

"It was just nice to have a day like that and just constantly feel at ease really with hitting good golf shots", he said.

"I think it is important for everyone to try come here and pay tribute to one of the legends of the game".

A monster 13 metre putt at the 72nd hole gave Italy's Francesco Molinari a two stroke victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. "I would have needed to go out there to shoot 67 to better him, which would have been one of the best scores of the day". McIlroy did not pick up another shot until the 16th - by which point he was one over for his round - and closed with a 72 for a share of sixth at minus eight.

McIlroy also was in the final group at Kapalua to start the year, three shots behind Gary Woodland.

Molinari's bogey-free gem was 13 shots better than playing partner Billy Horschel, almost eight shots better than the field average and two shots better than anyone on Sunday.

But there are plenty of others still in the mix. I don't want to overstate the importance of learning how to win on the best tour in the world, but there's certainly still a little "I kind of need to see it to believe it" lingering with Fleetwood.

Fifteen players were within five shots of the lead. "It only takes a couple of water balls from the top five guys, a few dropped shots early and all of a sudden you sort of are not looking like you're in a great position".

McIlroy's putting was excellent for the first three rounds, but he found himself four strokes behind when Molinari, putting with the pin in the hole, sank a 44-footer on the last for a 64 that set a formidable target. He also was five back. On Sunday, he had fought his way to six under, and was tied for 15th with two holes to go.

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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 of an eagle.

McIlroy, who usually eats par-5s for breakfast, lunch and dinner, played the four par-5s in just 1-under on Sunday, with three pars and a birdie.

Australia's Aaron Baddeley, England's Matt Wallace and American Kevin Kisner shared third on 209 but McIlroy, who began the day seven adrift, said plenty of rivals are within reach of the title. "Greens are firm, hitting a lot of long irons, and it's a true test".

"So it's unusual that the best result of the year and the week that I feel like I've sort of built some momentum and felt really comfortable on the golf course, kind of ends with a little bit of disappointment".

There was a new leader after 54 holes and almost an entirely new top 10 as men played their way through Bay Hill Golf Course honoring the late Palmer.

All that mattered was that it dropped, capping off a five-shot rally with a final round no one imagined on a fast Bay Hill course with putting surfaces that looked closer to white than green, making it hard for anyone to get it close to the hole.

British Open champion Francesco Molinari delivered another big moment on the 18th green at Bay Hill, without wearing a red shirt and leaving the flag stick in the cup.

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