Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Henrik Stenson leads at Bay Hill as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose impress

Henrik Stenson leads at Bay Hill as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose impress

MASTERS favourite Tiger woods will need one of his vintage performances at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday morning if he is to break a US PGA Tour win drought of nearly five years.

Woods has won eight times at Bay Hill but has not won any PGA Tour event since 2013, having had four back operations in three years.

He's five strokes behind leader Henrik Stenson, tied for 10th with three other golfers.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, had six birdies and three bogeys to bounce back from his 72 from day two and keep himself just about in contention at Bay Hill on seven under overall.

Rory McIlroy cut a frustrated figure as he suggested a limit on alcohol consumption following abusive fan behavior at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He even had his tee shot knocked down by a gust of wind that led to bogey and closed out a one-under 71 to go into the final round with another chance to win at Bay Hill.

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The Northern Irishman posted a close-range birdie at the fourth and rolled in from 12 feet at the ninth, before bouncing back from bogeying the 11th to eagle the next and pick up two shots over his final three holes.

He, too, missed an opportunity to pull away with Stenson.

DeChambeau and Stenson are both on -12 now playing the 15th hole, while Rickie Fowler, nestled in between McIlroy and the leaders at -11, is on the penultimate hole. "If I drive it like that again over the weekend I feel like I'll have a good chance". McIlroy has gone 26 tournaments since his last victory at the TOUR Championship in 2016 to win the FedExCup. Previously he's bemoaned the fact that "my kids have never understood what I've been able to do in golf because they've never seen me in action and always think I'm the YouTube golfer".

"I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I'm all for that, but it's when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy it can get a little much", McIlroy said. "I'll hopefully be within two or three of the lead, and I can make a run at it".

Fowler was tied for the lead briefly until a long three-putt on the par-3 14th and a messy finish. Much like his second round, it was another grind for Woods, but he holed enough long putts to stay in the hunt, none bigger than his final putt of the day from 12 feet at the par-4 18th.

"I played well, scored well, it was a good day all around", Woods said. "I was definitely more nervous today". I really hit the ball solidly, I controlled it, and I hit a lot of handsome putts.

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