McIlroy suggests limiting alcohol sales after Bay Hill abuse

Lynette Rowe
March 19, 2018

Rory McIlroy was mounting a final round charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday, joining Henrik Stenson at the top of the leaderboard with nine holes to play. Stenson had a one-shot lead with four holes to play in 2015 when he had consecutive three-putts and Matt Every beat him.

"To be in contention, if you would have asked me at the beginning of the year that I would have had a chance to win two golf tournaments, I would have taken that in a heartbeat", Woods said.

It was the Northern Irishman's best US PGA round since the first round last August at Akron and he stood third on 206 a week after missing the cut.

"I kept saying the last few weeks, I wasn't that far away and it just takes something to click into place", McIlroy said in a greenside interview. "But sometimes, when the comments get personal and people become rowdy, it can get to be a little much".

"I felt pretty good out there", Woods said.

Rose's playing partner Woods also clawed his way back into the tournament with a 69 and at seven under lurks ominously. Charley Hoffman, Rickie Fowler, Talor Gooch and South Korea's Byeong Hun An settled in at 8 under and a tie for sixth.

Behind the eight ball early after a double bogey at the second, he added two birdies and two bogeys to turn 2-over then recorded three more gains against a lone dropped shot on the inward half.

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Woods, whose last tournament victory came in the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational, told Sky Sports: "I've gotten the feel of playing tournament rounds". Stenson is a major champion and knows this Bay Hill course well.

Or this birdie putt on 13? He answered a bogey at 10 with birdies at the par-5 12th and 16th, only to miss the green at the par-3 17th on the way to bogey.

"Worked on my swing a little bit, found a feeling, found something I could go with into this week and hopefully beyond", McIlroy, who tied for fourth at the event a year ago, told NBC Sports.

The 14-time major victor three-putted the ninth for a second bogey of the day but birdied the 12th and 16th and narrowly missed from 15 feet for another on the last as he seeks a first victory since 2013.

Six months after Woods wasn't sure if he would be able to compete again at a high level, he is the betting favorite at Bay Hill.

"They are having a blast, and hopefully we can execute golf shots, but as long as they don't yell on our golf swings, everything's cool", Woods said.

Woods curled in a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th to complete his day, cocking for a full-speed fist pump before adopting a mellow low-key finish.

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