Rory McIlroy trails Tyrrell Hatton by two into final round at Bay Hill

English golfer edges towards maiden PGA Tour win on a tough scoring day in Florida

Tyrrell Hatton celebrates after his final hole birdie at Bay Hill. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty

Tyrrell Hatton celebrates after his final hole birdie at Bay Hill. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty

 

World number one Rory McIlroy kept himself in contention heading into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where England’s Tyrrell Hatton holds a two-shot lead after another testing day at Bay Hill.

McIlroy, five under overnight as part of the chasing pack, dropped a shot on the final hole to sign for another one-over 73 which put him equal second.

Hatton also carded a one-over in testing conditions to sit at six under. The 28-year-old from High Wycombe picked up two crucial birdies in the closing three holes, as most players struggled during the tough back nine with strong winds and firm greens.

McIlroy, the 2018 tournament winner, admitted the third round had been “pretty tough”.

“Obviously there is not a lot of red on that scorecard,” he told Sky Sports. “There were a couple of chances which I let go by, but I also made some really good saves.

“But I am enjoying the grinds, the fact that pars are good, you are really having to think out there, play the angles, the fairways are getting firm, there are crosswinds.

“It is a bit different to the golf we play week-in week-out, so I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Rory McIlroy posted a second-consecutive 73 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty
Rory McIlroy posted a second-consecutive 73 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty

McIlroy added: “If (Sunday) is going to be a day like today, then anything in the red is going to be really good.”

Graeme McDowell meanwhile is eight shots back after he battled to a 76 after recovering from a disastrous start on Saturday. He made a double bogey on the first before dropping further shots on the second, third fifth and sixth.

However he rallied after the turn, with birdies on 10, 12 and 16 leaving him on two over par for the tournament.

Australian Marc Leishman managed to get around in even par, having dropped a shot at the 15th, and is tied at four under alongside McIlroy.

South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Sungjae Im of South Korea, Australian Danny Lee, who double-bogeyed the 18th, and America’s Harris English are all tied fourth at three under.

Sung Kang, though, plummeted down the leaderboard after two triple-bogeys on the back nine — including two into the water at the 11th and a seven on the last hole — left him six over for the day having gone into the turn at even.

American Max Homa was the only player to score below par in Orlando on Saturday as he recorded a two-under 70 to lie at one over for the tournament, tied in 16th place.

Collated third round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational (USA unless stated, par 72):

(a) denotes amateurs

210 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 68 69 73

212 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 66 73 73, Marc Leishman (Aus) 71 69 72

213 Danny Lee (Nzl) 71 67 75, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 72 73, Sungjae Im (Kor) 70 69 74, Harris English 69 70 74

215 Sung Kang (Kor) 69 68 78

216 Scottie Scheffler 67 74 75, Matt Jones (Aus) 75 68 73, Sam Burns 68 72 76, Collin Morikawa 70 71 75, Bryson DeChambeau 73 71 72, Patrick Rodgers 73 70 73, Tom Hoge 70 70 76

217 Joel Dahmen 72 72 73, Charley Hoffman 70 73 74, Max Homa 72 75 70, Stewart Cink 72 70 75, Keith Mitchell 68 75 74, Kyoung-hoon Lee (Kor) 72 73 72, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 72 74

218 Bud Cauley 71 72 75, Matt Wallace (Eng) 69 73 76, Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 70 74 74, Jason Kokrak 71 75 72, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 68 74 76, Brendon Todd 68 72 78, Rickie Fowler 71 70 77, Troy Merritt 71 72 75

219 Talor Gooch 67 80 72, Zach Johnson 72 73 74, Xander Schauffele 73 74 72, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 74 73 72, Danny Willett (Eng) 71 71 77

220 Steve Stricker 72 74 74, Harold Varner III 70 74 76, Lanto Griffin 71 73 76, Xinjun Zhang (Chn) 70 75 75, Ian Poulter (Eng) 69 77 74, Scott Harrington 71 70 79, Nick Taylor (Can) 73 73 74, Patrick Reed 70 70 80, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 70 75 75

221 Beau Hossler 73 72 76, Davis Love III 72 73 76, Kevin Chappell 72 74 75, Keegan Bradley 73 72 76, Kevin Na 70 72 79, Harry Higgs 72 73 76, Adam Long 69 74 78, Zac Blair 74 70 77

222 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 69 73 80, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 71 76 75, Jimmy Walker 73 69 80, Billy Horschel 72 73 77

223 Vaughn Taylor 73 73 77, Brian Gay 73 72 78

224 Rod Perry 72 73 79, Scott Brown 69 76 79

225 Doc Redman 73 73 79, Robby Shelton 72 75 78, Sam Saunders 74 73 78

226 Brooks Koepka 72 73 81, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 73 74 79

227 Matthew Wolff 73 73 81

228 Wyndham Clark 74 72 82, Ryan Moore 71 75 82

230 Rob Oppenheim 69 78 83

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