There were some very encouraging signs for Rory McIlroy in his six-under-par 66 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Friday.
The World No 1’s form has been lukewarm since heading to the States a month ago, but a two-under 70 in Thursday’s first round at Bay Hill was a solid start, and Friday’s 66 – the first time he’s broken 70 on the PGA Tour in 2015 – definitely sounded a warning to his rivals ahead of the Masters.
McIlroy fired five birdies in a row from the second hole in an incredible hot streak, after earling picking up two birdies at the 10th and 16th. A bogey at the eighth was his sole blemish of the day as he finished on eight under par for the tournament.
He still finds himself five shots off Morgan Hoffman’s lead heading into the weekend, however, and knows he will have to produce more of the same if he’s to have any chance of winning the title.
“At that point it feels pretty easy,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel of his birdie run. “You are trying to just keep it going, you can feel the momentum building and going with you.”
The bogey on his second last hole was disappointing, and came after a miscued drive left him in the sand on the fairway.
“It would have been nice to finish the round off a little better but it’s still a good score and sets me up for the weekend. Each day I am feeling more comfortable, especially on the greens, and we got the best of the greens being out early,” he added.
“I’m happy with how I putted today and will need to putt like that over the weekend to have a chance.”
At the top of the leaderboard, overnight leader Morgan Hoffman continued to shine, adding a 65 to his opening 66 to lie on 13 under par.