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Rory McIlroy shoots 'perfect round' to earn first PGA Tour win since 2016 at Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy ended an almost 18 month wait for a PGA Tour victory thanks to a stunning final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The world number 13 carded an eight under par 64 for a three shot victory over Bryson DeChambeau. That added to rounds of 69, 70 and 74 for an 18 under par total.

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McIlroy's last PGA Tour victory came at the 2016 TOUR Championship, on the same weekend that Arnold Palmer passed away.

"It was awesome," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "To feel the buzz of being around the lead and reeling off those four birdies - I really have missed it.

"I'm really proud of myself and so happy to get the win.

"I stayed really patient. I gave myself a chance of birdie on every hole. I was trying to give myself looks - I played a perfect round.

"I knew I was close. Nobody would believe me. I went through a few rough weeks but with golf, it's never that far away. I did some good work that paid off right away."

Rory's sharp rise to form was down in no small part to a huge improvement on the greens.

"I freed up," he explained. "I didn't worry much about mechanics. I think I have a really good feeling with it and I want to continue that for a long time."

The Holywood golfer's bogey-free final round included five birdies in his last six holes. A big part of that was arguably his shot of the day, a chip in at hole 15.

And McIlroy finished off the round in fitting style, holing a lengthy birdie putt on the 18th.

McIlroy had started the day three shots behind overnight leader Henrik Stenson.

Tiger Woods finished in a tie for fifth on -10, eight shots behind McIlroy. The former world number one had climbed to within a shot of the lead before driving out of bounds on the 16th and carding back-to-back bogeys.

Graeme McDowell shot a disappointing one over par final round to finish tied 22nd on -5.

McIlroy's victory is a huge boost going into the Masters from April 5-8, when he will be out to complete a career grand slam.

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