Fitzpatrick takes Bay Hill lead with McIlroy a stroke behind

Fitzpatrick takes Bay Hill lead with McIlroy a stroke behind

Fitzpatrick takes Bay Hill lead with McIlroy a stroke behind

No one got closer than one shot to him the rest of the day.

"Finally, in 2015, I played here and I realised what I was missing; I got to spend some time with Arnold which was a dream come true for me". According to NBC Sports, Molinari made a PGA Tour-career-best 146 1/2 feet of putts in the final round. "I'm playing good golf, it doesn't matter if I'm playing that golf on Thursday, Friday, Saturday", he added.

Now he drives some two hours north to try and accomplish the API-PLAYERS double.

Molinari finished at 12-under 276, his fourth victory in his last 17 starts over nine months. "It's a penalising course if you don't hit very good shots, and I hit some awful shots today". I thought go out there, do that, shoot 68 and I would have been close. Korea's Sungjae Im (68), England's Tommy Fleetwood (68) and Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello (69) tied for third place.

Meanwhile, Diksha Dagar continued her upward movement in the Women's New South Wales Open with a sterling third round display that put her in sight of her first Top-10 as a pro outside India.

Marc Leishman, the 2017 victor at Bay Hill, is even on the card through 15 holes to remain at two under. Matt Every (2014, '15) was the last American victor.

Fitzpatrick, a 24-year-old seeking his first US PGA title after five European Tour triumphs, stood on nine-under 207 for 54 holes at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida.

This officially is becoming a thing.

"I mean it's nice to bounce back but when you're coming down the stretch it's obviously a lot of disappointment there as well", Fleetwood admitted. Among that group, again, was Rory McIlroy, and the frustration began to show as he slogged toward the clubhouse.

Phil Mickelson shot a six-over 78 and missed the cut.

"I'm playing well", McIlroy insisted after struggling on the greens and taking 30 putts on Sunday.

"The consistency in my game, consistency in my mindset, my thinking, not getting ahead of myself, staying patient, I think by doing that I'll find myself in this position more often", he told Golfweek after his round. "If I took care of the par 5s a little better, it might have been a different story". A year ago it got firm on the weekend.

Fifteen players were within five shots of the lead. That magical Open last summer. This time, Molinari's 8-under 64 tied the lowest final round in relation to par at the API since 1983. There are various circumstances attached to that, of course, but this was a peculiarly flat McIlroy Sunday.

Molinari's five-stroke come-from-behind victory matches the best this season, equaling Xander Schauffele at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. His birdie at the 16th was the only one on a par-5 in the final round, and it was disappointing given he had a makeable eagle putt.

McIlroy, despite a birdie at the second, could not get any real momentum going and had a closing round of 72 that saw him finish four shots behind the victor. He led the field Saturday in strokes gained off the tee, a stat he has a healthy lead in for the year. He was first in the field in SG: Total (+3.323).

Final-round, final-pairing blues are becoming a part of Rory McIlroy's narrative. His Sunday scoring average over his past seven final-group appearances is 72.

All that mattered was that it dropped, capping off a five-shot rally with a final round no one imagined on a fast Bay Hill course with putting surfaces that looked closer to white than green, making it hard for anyone to get it close to the hole.

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