Rory McIlroy wins Arnold Palmer Invitational with amazing late birdie run

Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

Rory McIlroy wins Arnold Palmer Invitational with amazing late birdie run

PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy wins Arnold Palmer Invitational with amazing late birdie run

ORLANDO – Here is a recap of the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Bay Hill.

WINNER: Rory McIlroy is amazing.

The Northern Irishman had not won on the PGA Tour or anywhere since the 2016 Tour Championship, but did that win drought faze him as he had a chance to end it Sunday at Bay Hill? Absolutely not.

In fact, McIlroy – who started the day two shots back – looked like a man possessed down the stretch. Tied for the lead with six holes to play, McIlroy went on a tear. He drained a 16-footer for birdie from the fringe at the par-4 13th to move to 14 under and one in front.

He followed by burying a 21-footer at the next to get two ahead at 15 under. And this was just the start.

McIlroy chipped in for birdie at the 15th and then bombed a 373-yard drive down the par-5 16th. A wedge from 119 yards to 22 feet and a two putt meant a fourth straight birdie, a move to 17 under and a three-shot lead.

Even when Bryson DeChambeau made eagle at 16 to move within one, McIlroy remained calm. The 28-year-old hit his approach at the par-4 18th to 25 feet and drained the putt for a closing birdie.

The thunderous conclusion meant five birdies in his final six holes, a closing 8-under 64 and an 18-under total. When DeChambeau’s 22-foot birdie effort from the fringe at the par-3 17th just missed, he had to hole out for eagle at the 18th to catch McIlroy.

When he didn’t, McIlroy was officially the API champion.

There were concerns about McIlroy’s win drought and his game heading into Augusta as he entered Bay Hill coming off a T59-MC stretch. But those fears can now be assuaged. With a brilliant birdie run, McIlroy earned his 14th PGA Tour win and showed he’s back in a big way.

JUST MISSED: DeChambeau put up a valiant fight. A closing bogey meant a 4-under 68, but he still put up a runner-up finish at 15 under. Henrik Stenson, the 54-hole leader, couldn’t keep up with the onslaught. The Swede posted a 1-under 71 to drop to fourth at 13 under. Justin Rose closed in a pair of 67s to finish third at 14 under. After starting this tournament 4 over through six, Rose played his final 66 holes in 18 under.

SHOT OF THE DAY: So many choices for McIlroy, but we’ll go with his clinching putt. His reaction said it all.

SHORT SHOTS: Tiger Woods finishes in a tie for fifth at 10 under after a closing 3-under 69. He was within one at one point on the back nine but faded with back-to-back bogeys. … Rickie Fowler closes in 74 to drop to a tie for 14th at 6 under. … Jason Day, the 2016 champion, finishes T-22 at 5 under. … Defending champion Marc Leishman closes in 67 for a T-7 at 8 under.

UP NEXT: We now are off to a rare match-play event. The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is on tap. Follow all the action on Golfweek.com and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

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