Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy fired a superb closing 64 at Bay Hill to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by three shots from Bryson DeChambeau of the USA.

McIlroy wins Arnold Palmer Invitational

Rory McIlroy produced a near-perfect golfing performance on the Sunday of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to see off the challenge of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods and to finish three ahead of second placed Bryson DeChambeau.

McIlroy had taken a putting lesson from Brad Faxon in the run-up to Bay Hill and that paid dividends on Sunday as Rory made eight birdies in his last 13 holes to card a brilliant 64.

McIlroy started the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational two shots behind Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and he was unable to make up any ground early on round four. The Northern Irishman opened with five straight pars.

But he made a birdie at the 6th and that triggered an incredible run of golf. He made further gains at the seventh and ninth holes and then really turned on the afterburners on the run for home. After a birdie at the 13th, he then made a great putt for two on the par-3 14th. When he chipped in for birdie on the 15th, it looked to destined to be his day.

Pumped up from that stroke, Rory then hit a monster drive on the par-5 16th, one that travelled some 373 yards. It left him just 119 yards for his second to the par-5. A birdie was the least he could expect from that. The four-time Major champion then put the icing on the cake with a birdie at the 72nd hole, reminiscent of Tiger in years gone by.

That saw him reach 18-under-par and nobody could match that score. It was Rory’s first win on the PGA Tour since the 2016 Tour Championship.

Rory McIlroy celebrates at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Rory McIlroy celebrates at Arnold Palmer Invitational

“Yeah, it’s been a while,” he said. “I’ve always believed in myself and I know that me being 100 percent healthy is good enough to not just win on the PGA TOUR, but win a lot. And I guess that’s what kept me going.”

McIlroy joins Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods as the only players in the modern era to win 14 or more times on the PGA Tour before their 30th birthday. McIlroy is back up to seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Tiger Woods finished fifth at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods finished fifth at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods closed with a 69 at Bay Hill and came up eight shots short in his bid to win a ninth Arnold Palmer Invitational title. He got within two through 15 holes but his chance was gone when he fired out of bounds from the tee on the 16th. He ended tied for fifth. Woods is now 105th on the Official World Golf Ranking, up 551 places since the start of the year.

Overnight leader Henrik Stenson struggled to find the pace of the greens on Sunday and he dropped back into fourth place. England’s Justin Rose shot a fine round of 67 to end the week in third.

Bryson DeChambeau was runner-up to Rory

Bryson DeChambeau was runner-up to Rory

It was Bryson DeChambeau who pushed Rory closest. The American was two behind with two to play and looked to have reduced the deficit to one when his putt on the 17th appeared sure to drop, but it missed by the narrowest of margins. That left him needing to hole his second to the last to force a playoff. He played a good shot from the rough but it went through the green and the title was McIlroy’s.

Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Orlando, Florida
Mar 15-18
Purse: $8,900,000 Par: 72

1 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 69 70 67 64 270 $1,602,000
2 Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 67 66 72 68 273 $961,200
3 Justin Rose (Eng) 69 71 67 67 274 $605,200
4 Henrik Stenson (Swe) 64 69 71 71 275 $427,200
T5 Tiger Woods (USA) 68 72 69 69 278 $338,200
T5 Ryan Moore (USA) 71 67 69 71 278 $338,200
T7 Marc Leishman (Aus) 70 70 73 67 280 $249,942
T7 Kevin Chappell (USA) 70 70 73 67 280 $249,942
T7 Luke List (USA) 71 67 74 68 280 $249,942
T7 Sean O’Hair (USA) 72 71 69 68 280 $249,942
T7 Patrick Rodgers (USA) 72 71 68 69 280 $249,942
T7 Patrick Reed (USA) 68 70 71 71 280 $249,942

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage