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Rory McIlroy is back on form as Henrik Stenson claims title

By Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy expressed his satisfaction with his final competitive appearance before the Masters as Ryder Cup team-mate Henrik Stenson had to settle for a runner-up finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Matt Every triumphed for the second straight year, making an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Stenson at Bay Hill.

Every rallied from a four-shot deficit last year for his first career victory and he came from three shots behind yesterday with a 6-under 66 that again sends him to the Masters.

McIlroy began the day seven shots behind Stenson and despite briefly closing the gap to five with birdies on the fourth and sixth, bogeys on the ninth and 12th ended his chances of an unlikely win on his Bay Hill debut.

The world number one at least ended in style with birdies on the 16th and 18th for a closing round of 70 ahead of his bid to win a third major title in succession and complete the career grand slam at Augusta.

"I feel like I got what I wanted out of the week, four good competitive rounds," McIlroy said.

"I saw some progress on some of the things I was working on last week.

"I still need to work on some things ahead of Augusta.

"It would have been nice to get into contention and feel what is was like to have a chance to win but I am happy with my progress and have another couple of weeks to work on some things and hopefully go to Augusta ready.

"I am excited going there with the opportunity to achieve three in a row, the career grand slam. It's a nice position to be in.

"I'm going to embrace it, try not to build it up too much.

"I know it's a big deal but hopefully I can get my game as good as I possibly can."

Belfast Telegraph


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