McIlroy Returns To The Magic Kingdom In Seeking A Career First & Successfully Defend Arnie’s Event.

A return visit to the nearby Magic Kingdom at Disney World has inspired Rory McIlroy to shake a decade long hoodoo and achieve the career first in successfully defend his Arnold Palmer Invitational title at Bay Hill.

McIlroy brilliantly birdied three of his closing four holes in a sizzling six-under par 66 and end the round just one shot behind England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick who late in the day posted a bogey-free 67 and move to 9-under par as the 24-year Sheffield star seeks to win for a first time on the PGA Tour.

McIlroy is second on eight-under and with three players – Aussie Aaron Baddeley (69), England’s Matthew Wallace (69) and American Kevin Kisner (70) locked in third place at six-under par in the $US 9.5m event in suburban Orlando.

McIlroy has won 24 tournaments around the globe since turning pro in late 2007 but not once has his managed to successfully defend a title.

The Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando

That could all change on Sunday afternoon and with memories strong of McIlroy birding five of his closing six holes a year ago in a dominating last day 64 and win the Arnold Palmer for a first occasion.

And McIlroy then revealed the key to his super third round.

He said:  “My wife Erica told me last year the only reason I won this event is because we went to the Magic Kingdom on Friday.

“So, I thought, let’s go back to Disney World and have a good time again. And it’s nice to do it of every once in a while.

“The best ride was the Tower of Terror and I think if you don’t, if you come to Orlando and you don’t go to the theme park’s you’re sort of missing out on something

“I’ve never successful defended a title so it’s a great opportunity tomorrow to do something I’ve never done before and it’s going to be exciting.

“I am feeling good about tomorrow as this was a great round to get myself back into contention, and I have been feeling good about my game as I have been all year.

“It’s just a matter of doing the right things and doing them day-after-day and I can do all those maybe tomorrow is the day.”

Rors needed just 27 putts that included remarkable 11 one-putts and also a pair of three-putts and they were on two of the par’5s.
McIlroy has won 24 tournaments around the globe since turning pro in late 2007 but not once has his managed to successfully defend a title.

That could all change on Sunday afternoon and with memories strong of McIlroy birding five of his closing six holes a year ago in a sizzling last day 64 and win the Arnold Palmer for a first occasion.

McIlroy headed into the third round seven shots adrift of victorious Ryder Cup team-mate, Tommy Fleetwood.

He quickly brushed aside Friday’s frustrating round of 70 to birdie four of his opening six holes on day three thanks to birdie putts of six-feet at the second and then 11-feet at the next, the par-4 third.

McIlroy then made amends in bogeying the par-4 fifth hole on both day one and two when he rolled-in a 26-footer ahead of playing a superb 154-foot greenside bunker shot at sixth to just 12-inches for a fourth birdie of his day.
Then for a second day running McIlroy dropped a shot at the par-4 eighth hole after finding a back bunker.

McIlroy then produced five straight pars before the shot of his round, a laser-like 160-yard second shot to just six inches at the par-4 15th and tap-in to move to four-under for his round and also T2nd with seven others at six-under par.

There was now no stopping McIlroy turning-up the wick to birdie the par-5 16th and then after a par at 17 he had the fans standing to applaud when he ended his round by holing a six-footer for the seventh birdie of his round.

McIlroy proudly headed to the clubhouse leading at eight-under par.

“This golf course has played much tougher from the very beginning of the tournament this year compared to the previous years and knowing that with the wind and the golf course is going to get firmer as the days go on, I stayed patient again yesterday,” he said.

“I felt like two-under was a decent score and anything in and around two-under, three or four-under par starting today you shoot a good one today you move up like I have.

“It’s so bunched, it’s still, 8-under is leading and I would say still 2-, 3-under pars have a chance to win the tournament.

“The good thing is that I was more in control of my golf ball today, I hit more fairways, and because of that I gave myself more birdie chances and I converted a few of them.

“So, I did everything I needed to do today to get myself back in the golf tournament and excited to have another chance tomorrow.”



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