Rory McIlroy wins Arnold Palmer Invitational after…


"If I can play with no pain and I can feel like I can make golf swings I'll figure it out", Woods said.

The last time McIlroy reigned supreme was at the Tour Championship on September 25, 2016 - the same day Arnold Palmer died - and he returned to winning ways at the resort once owned by the golfing great. "But I'm so happy to put my name on that trophy". Woods, who started the final round 5 shots behind, made three birdies in a four-hole stretch to start the back nine and was within shot of the lead as everyone behind him on the course appeared to stall.

The former world No. 1 was within a shot of the lead held by major winners McIlroy and Henrik Stenson at the time, at five-under having the round of the day.

He finished one shot behind last week at Innisbrook. "The greens were really smooth but really fast and I thought I really putted well this week". The putter was on fire, as he claimed birdies on the sixth (10 feet), seventh (12 feet), ninth (10 feet), 13th (16 feet), 14th (20 feet) and completed a hat-trick with a most improbable chip-in from 15 yards on the 15th to open a two stroke gap over his then closest pursuers - DeChambeau and Stenson. McIlroy buried the putt, raised both arms in the air and turned to slam his fist as the grandstands erupted with cheers. I've been grinding and focusing on this week, trying to win this thing and now the tournament's over, I'll start to make some changes for Augusta, what kind of equipment setup I'm going to go with, some things I want to do with my swing. "But just to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special".

That gave him a two-shot lead, and he was a victor for the 22nd time worldwide when DeChambeau failed to hole out from the fairway for eagle.

"Rory played incredible golf and it was fun - great to see world class players do that", Rose said after a 67.

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That left the 42-year-old needing to hole from more than 25 feet to save par, which he was unable to do, and he slipped three adrift of the lead with two holes remaining. Two shots behind playing the 16th, Stenson three-putted for par and bogeyed the final hole for a 71.

Woods tied for fifth with Ryan Moore (71), and now heads to the Masters with plenty of momentum - just not a victory. "And so in the back of my mind I'm running through these different scenarios and it's on me, I didn't commit to either one of those three shots and I hit a poor one". When he made it from 15 feet on the fringe, he was one shot behind and the enormous crowd could be heard everywhere on the course.

He has finished 12, second and fifth in the past three tournaments, emphasising that his comeback is well and truly alive. His next stop is the Masters, where he will be a favourite to win his fifth green jacket.

Woods, who has undergone four back surgeries since 2014, is just hoping to remain healthy the rest of the year.

As a couple of Australians also made strong runs, Woods threatened to win for a third tournament in a row before a pulled drive at the par-five 16 hole that flew out of bounds cost him a chance.

While it was disappointing end to promising week, the 14-times major victor will take away plenty of positives as he looks ahead to next month's U.S. Masters. He said his options were a driver that he could shape between the left rough and the bunkers on the right, or pound a driver over the bunkers, or simply hit a 3-wood down the fairway and have no more than an 8-iron into the green.